MOST homeless people in Clare are women, with domestic violence cited as the primary reason in the majority of cases in the county.
Figures outlined in the draft Clare Homelessness Action Plan highlight that in 2012, there were 304 people deemed homeless in Clare. Of this, 160 were women and 144 were men. The majority of homeless people, 122, fell in the age range of 20 to 29.
Clare was cited as county of origin by 212 of these people, with the next highest figure of 27 coming from Limerick. Twelve came from an accession state, 12 were non-EU, three from the EU and five from the U.K.
The report outlines the primary reasons given for people’s homelessness. Domestic violence was named in 83 cases. Among the figures showcasing where these people were placed, it emerged 107 were placed in a hostel or refuge, 80 lived with family or friends, 39 were in private rented accommodation, 34 returned home, 22 in a bed and breakfast and 15 were not placed.
The draft action plan was unveiled at a meeting of Ennis Town Council. Councilor Mary Howard described the statistics as telling a “heartbreaking story,” while Councilor Mary Coote Ryan said “it makes for hard reading.”
Councilor Frankie Neylon commented that Ennis’ recent reputation in relation to homeless people has been damaged.
“This is not fair, this town has been looking after people from outside for over 50 years,” he said.
Neylon said there are currently 1,000 people on the local authority’s housing waiting list, and he commented that some people are homeless by choice.
“I don’t want to see anybody homeless. We have to work with people to ensure nobody sleeps on the streets in Ennis or County Clare,” he added.
A MAN who admitted falsely claiming over £140,000 in benefits with his wife shouted obscenities at a judge after his wife was jailed.
Derry Crown Court Judge Piers Grant adjourned the sentencing of Michael Cecil Harkin until this week after he was called a “f****** w*****” by the defendant.
Harkin, of Circular Road, falsely claimed a total of £67,292 between December 16, 1999 and August 3, 2009 by not declaring he was married and living with his wife.
His wife Donna McCool, 46, also of Circular Road, falsely claimed a total of £76,817 of Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance between September 26, 1990 and August 10, 2009.
During interview it was claimed by the couple their marriage lasted only two days and their six children were the “result of making up.”
Judge Piers Grant jailed McCool for five months. He said that it is “quite clear that every penny of government money is needed” and those who falsely claim benefits are “stealing from neighbors and other members of the public.”
Harkin was remanded in custody after his outburst to appear in court.
ACCORDING to a helpline operating in Naas, the impact of loneliness is taking an increasing toll on older people in society. Statistics from the Senior Help Line call center reveal that in the last quarter of 2012, 32 percent of calls related to loneliness, rural isolation and minimum social contact.
The service is confidential, but Senior Help Line have identified particular trends in the calls that they received in the last quarter of last year.
“Many callers to our Naas service are older people living alone. Some callers can go for days without contact from other people. That kind of isolation can be terribly cruel and can have a detrimental effect on a person’s wellbeing. In November over half of calls to the center were because of loneliness,” according to Mary Nally, founder of voluntary organization Third Age which founded and manages Senior Help Line.
“A quarter of calls in the last quarter of 2012 were related to health concerns. This includes physical, mental wellbeing and stress. Older people are more prone to illness and they have concerns about health issues. Although we would never give advice on health matters, the very act of talking to someone can help ease the anxiety for callers.”
Repeat, Repeat Offender
A 31-YEAR-old man with 68 previous convictions who was out on temporary release from prison stole a car which was parked outside his house in a “spur of the moment” opportunity.
Mallow District court heard that Brian Lysaght was presently serving two years and five months in prison.
However, Inspector Tony O'Sullivan told the court that Lysaght, of Charleville, was out on temporary release when he took a car on May 18.
Solicitor Cathal Lombard said a car was parked outside Lysaght's home and there was a key left in the door. "It was opportunistic," said Lombard.
O'Sullivan said the 68 convictions consisted of assault, trespass, motoring offenses, burglary, obstruction, as well as four convictions for taking a car along with a 15 year driving ban.
"That is a huge amount of convictions. We will be here all afternoon if they are all called out," said Judge Sheridan.
Lombard said his client had been drinking very heavily on the day. "He decided to drive to Buttevant in the car. This was a spur of the moment thought," said Lombard.
Sheridan issued a six month sentence with two months suspended along with his own bond of €500.
THERE were reports of a number of children going missing on Monday afternoon on Rossnowlagh beach in south Donegal while beaches across the county were extremely busy as the glorious weather continues.
Events such as the currach racing in Kilybegs also attracted huge numbers, but in Rossnowlagh there were concerns for a number of children who went missing and with difficulties when hundreds of motorists left the beach as the tide came in.
A full scale search was sparked at Rossnowlagh beach on Monday after a six-year-old boy went missing.
An anxious relative raised the alarm at 4 p.m. by making a 999 call that was put through to Malin Head Coast Guard.
Bundoran RNLI, Killybegs Coast Guard, the Rescue 118 Coast Guard helicopter from Sligo were all involved in the search for the boy who was last seen near the water. They were assisted by local people in boats and on jet-skis.
As the search continued, Malin Head Coast Guard received another call regarding a second child, aged eight, who had gone missing not far from the Sandhouse Hotel. This child was located within a short time.
At around 4:50 p.m., almost an hour after the initial report, the six-year-old was found by a family member and the search was called off.
Volunteer helm for the RNLI Lifeboat, Iarla Carty, said afterwards, “Once again, we had another happy ending to a callout and another example of rescue agencies working together for a positive resolution.
“We would encourage parents to be vigilant with their children around the water, particularly when the weather is so good.”
Gardai (police) also received a number of complaints about traffic chaos at the popular beach.
“A very large number of cars were parked on the beach and many of the owners began to panic a bit as the tide started to come in,” a Garda source stated.
Because so many people were trying to leave at the same time, there were massive tailbacks.
Garda units from Ballyshannon, Bundoran and Donegal Town were dispatched to prevent any more cars going on to the beach and to manage traffic leaving the beach.