A newly wed Curragh based soldier along with his wife and children are facing the threat of homelessness due to high rental prices in Co Kildare.
The couple in their mid-twenties, have two young children, and both work full-time. The private at The Curragh also worked as a bar-man, until recently. His wife is a shop supervisor. They have been forced to share a house with relatives, sharing the €1,300 per month rent. The soldier and his wife have been paying €700 per month.
However, the people that they have been sharing rent with have had to move in order to get closer to new employment.
Unable to get a mortgage, due to lack of savings, they are facing the threat of homelessness.
They are €200 under the threshold for Housing Assistance Payment.
Childcare is costing the couple an average of €320 per month.
The soldier’s wife, who does not wish to be named said: “I can work anytime from 7am to 11pm, I can go a full week without seeing my children go to bed. We don’t want handouts, we feel that we are being penalised for working. We just want somewhere to live that is affordable, that is not putting us in debt.”
The couple are being met by a minimum rent of €1,000 per month for a two bedroom property.
She feels that landlords are reluctant to rent properties to couples with children.
Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell has sent an email to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on behalf of the family. He said: “I have once again been contacted regarding a Defence Forces family that will soon be homeless.I am speaking of bringing the many married quarters that are in poor repair back into service. I am not asking the Defence Forces of the Government to do anything other than to release the properties in the Curragh that have been boarded up. I will undertake to put in place whatever is required to manage the refurbishment and future management of these properties. The plus side means that a significant number of Defence Force families may move into these houses freeing up those properties they are currently renting.”
On September 19, Sarah Walshe, the midlands co-ordinator for the group Wives and Partners of the Defence Forces, is urging people to rally behind the troops and their families, in a protest at Merrion Square, at 11.45am.
She said:"The money is crap, they can't get a mortgage. They are getting more money for doing security jobs. Some people are now down €180 a week as all their increments are being cut."
According to the Department of Defence statement: “The starting pay for a newly qualified three star private, and their Naval Service equivalent, (inclusive of military service allowance) is now €27,257, gross annual earnings, with scope for further income from duty allowances. This is a significant increase on the €21,800 per annum which was the annual amount prior to the implementation of the increases in pay received through recent pay agreements. The starting pay for a Corporal, including Military Service Allowance, is over €37,000 per annum. The first point on the payscale for a Sergeant, including Military Service Allowance, is €40,000 per annum.”
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