An Irish mother and her four children have been forced to move into a caravan, as they await assistance from the Department of Social Welfare.

Due to financial hardship the Mayo woman can no longer afford her rented accommodation and plans to move into a friend’s caravan while she awaits social welfare assistance, the Mayo News reports.

The single  mother, who hasn’t been named, has been described by Connacht/Ulster Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins as “as genuine a case”.

After losing her job, the mother applied for Lone Parents Allowance but was refused. She has since appealed the decision, which is still pending.
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She then applied for a Supplementary Welfare payment over ten weeks ago, which was also refused. The Supplementary Welfare payment is granted to those who are waiting for a Social Welfare application to be processed.

Local politician Higgins, maintains that the mother was denied assistance from the State because she had been suspected of co-habiting, which he maintains is “definitely not” the case.

“A mother of four is really struggling here,” Mr Higgins told The Mayo News. “She has no money, that’s the long and the short of it. She’s separated for some time and recently had to apply for a Lone Parent’s Allowance.

“She had been renting, but now cannot afford to pay the rent, so she has had to move out this week and a friend of hers is accommodating her in a caravan now. Coming up to Christmas and having a mother and four children in a caravan with the weather getting colder by the day is a terrible situation.”

“If an application was unsuccessful, any appeal would go to Galway and would be dealt with relatively quickly. Now, if an appeal is made, it has to be sent up to Dublin,” explained Mr Higgins.

“What are they to do if they have a tsunami of files from around the country? Clearly a contingency plan hasn’t been formulated to deal with it,” he added.