A PREGNANT Newbridge woman who says she has been sleeping in a car for almost three months has appealed to Kildare County Council to provide her family with a home.
Speaking to the Kildare Nationalist, Martha Ibe explained that she had previously lived in a house in Newbridge but experienced a number of issues. At present, she and her partner are sleeping in a car near the Curragh Racecourse. They previously spent time under trees in a nearby graveyard, where Ms Ibe claims she was attacked one night while her partner was away, leaving her with a black eye.
With temperatures dropping, enduring the cold nights is becoming increasingly tough, particularly as Ms Ibe says that she is due to give birth in February and has several other health issues.
“I might sleep maybe half an hour or something like that, but you’d wake with the cold,” she explained. “The weather that we have suffered in the car is unbelievable … it is seriously cold.”
Her 21-year-old son and his four-year-old sister are currently living with their grandparents in the town. While Ms Ibe and her partner can shower and spend time there during the day, there’s simply no more room at night.
One of her few avenues for stress relief is singing at a local church. “Every week I sing there. I love it,” she said. “It just soothes my brain – it’s lovely.”
The separation is hard on her daughter and Ms Ibe makes a great effort to ensure that life is as normal as possible. She travels to her parents’ house every morning to get her daughter ready and take her to school, collecting her again when she’s finished.
Ms Ibe claims that she has filled out or provided all of the required paperwork and is currently waiting for a phone call. When contacted by the Kildare Nationalist, Kildare County Council’s housing department replied that it was not in a position to comment on individual cases.
“At this stage, I don’t want emergency [housing] – I want a home,” Ms Ibe said. “I just want a home.”