Standing With Erica

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Erica Fleming

You may recall how Erica Fleming featured in an RTÉ documentary, My Homeless Family, earlier this year.

The documentary showed how Erica, 30, has been living in a Dublin hotel room with her nine-year-old daughter Emily since last summer. Erica works 29 hours a week at a business which has employed her for five years.

You may also recall how Erica’s questions during a post-Budget RTÉ phone-in last October caused a bit of a headache for Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin and Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Further to this…

Erica writes:

One hundred years ago, brave Irish men and women took to the streets of Dublin to fight for an Ireland that was more equal than the one they had known previously. They fought for a Republic that guaranteed equal rights and equal opportunities. Most notable for me as a mother, they fought for an Ireland where all of the children of the nation would be cherished equally.

They were incredibly brave but their vision for how our Republic should be, has not been realised. In our Ireland today, 130,000 children live in consistent child poverty. To our great shame, there are 1,600 children in our city who are homeless and spending large parts of their childhood living in single room hotel accommodation.

My beautiful daughter Emily is one of those children. As a mother I want to fight for her. I want to take to the streets and stare power in the eye and hold it to account for the experiences of poverty that are facing my child daily. Her playground is a hotel corridor: I rarely get to provide her with a home cooked meal. As I tuck her in at night, I can’t even afford her the dignity of leaving the room. This isn’t the Republic that people died for and I feel duty bound to demand that my daughter be cherished equally in the eyes of this State.

I feel that the best way that I, and others like me. can pay tribute to the heroes of 1916, is to also take to the streets of Dublin over the Easter weekend.

So here’s what I’m proposing. On Easter Sunday, I invite all of the homeless people of this country to stand with me and other campaigners on O’Connell Street and remind those politicians who will be celebrating the centenary of the Rising, that our children are important too.

Stand with me and, through our presence on the day, let it be known that the best way to pay tribute to those who sacrificed themselves for this Republic, would be to prioritise solving the homeless crisis that is plaguing the lives of so many people in this country.

This will be a friendly, family-orientated event and all we will be doing on the day is standing in solidarity with homeless families. There will be no speeches, there will be no rallies or microphones and there will be absolutely no hate permitted from anybody standing with us – regardless of where it’s directed.

Our intention on the day is to highlight that our children matter and that a home is the minimum we should be affording our children on this anniversary of an event associated with such strong themes of equality and what it truly means to live in a Republic.

Please share this message! Let this event be known to your friends and families and let’s try make this event one that those who sacrificed their lives a century ago would be proud of. This is my duty as a mother. This is our duty as citizens of this Republic.

Easter Sunday protest for the homeless (Facebook)

Previously: “It’s Not Really A Response, Is It? It’s Just A Speech”

A Phoney Phone-In

32 thoughts on “Standing With Erica

  1. Joe Small

    I think its only fair to point our that the men and women of 1916 had no detailed housing policies whatsoever. This ‘vision’ of theirs wouldn’t been ripped up had they appeared on Prime Time back then.
    There’s plenty of vision in the recent election manifestos too – will we be lauding them as sacred documents in 100 years too?

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          You know what they say, opinions are like bottomholes, some are more pooey than others

          1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

            BS is a pooey bottomhole for making me sound like I can’t swear

    1. Nice Jung Man

      In fact as I recall they knowingly occupied and squatted in public buildings like those dirty travellers

      Bring back the Brits I say to move these tinkers on

    2. ReproBertie

      If you want to point out irrelevancies why not point out that the men and women who took to the streets in 1916 to fight for an Ireland that was more equal than the one they had known lost that fight within a week.

  2. DubLoony

    I admire her for the idea of it but there is a parade on that day and there will be hundreds of thousands of people on the streets so not sure about the viability of the plan.

    The children who are at most risk of consistent poverty are those that are in lone parent households.
    At the risk of being taken out and flogged, where are the men in all this? Have they no sense of duty or responsibility?
    Older social housing was based on family homes. Now, its quite possible to have two social housing dwellings being used by a split family. I know there are many reasons why but in some areas, its almost normal not to have any father around, at least on paper.

    We need all types of housing built so that vulnerable people like this lady can have a key to a door that affords her dignity and privacy.

      1. fmong

        Hi Guys

        I’m a single father, I rent a 2 bed apartment so my kiddo can have a room to stay as often as she can and know that there will be always be a place for them in my life.. I pay maintenance every month, I don’t get any children’s allowance, the lone parents tax break was taken away from me 2 or 3 budgets ago and I don’t qualify for rent allowance or a medical card or anything like that… basically I work my arse off to keep the show on the road.

        Now I’ve been hit with a rent increase for 400 euro, been two years in the place so it’s all legit, I’ve a good job, college educated professional, but there is no way I can afford to keep on the place and support my kid.. I’m lucky I’ve some options and family support, but it’s startling how easy it could be for anyone to fall off the edge and into the homelessness trap based purely on the whim of a landlord who feels he/she could exploit the current housing crisis. It’s genuinely scary.

        I’m sure there’s 100s of 1000’s of men in a similar position to mine, and I can see how easy it could be to fall off the threadmill, but the fact is no one is listening and sadly in Ireland single parenting is still viewed as some sort of “trouble” you got yourself into… sad days..

        1. Pippa

          Fair Play to you… And you are so right. It’s so unpredictable what will happen if you lose your rented accommodation weather you pay full price or get rent allowance. We lost our rented house a few months ago because rent is just way to high. It’s sickening no affordable housing and not a hope of getting a mortgage.. Where do we go from here?

        2. Anne

          “Now I’ve been hit with a rent increase for 400 euro”

          That’s scandalous.

          There was a landlord on here recently saying how he was being ‘fleeced’ in tax (23% it worked out at), and how any contribute to what he regarded as his pension fund was a subsidy.

          https://www.broadsheet.ie/2016/03/15/meanwhile-in-cork-52/#comment-1571951

          300 euro he mentioned increasing the rent by.. Of course he justified that by saying he’s not making enough profit.. but those high level of rents he knows he can now achieve weren’t factored in when he purchased the property (2004 he said) ..

          It is exploiting the housing crisis.. I don’t care how anyone justifies it to themselves.

  3. Tish Mahorey

    The Guardians of the Peace will move them on pretty sharp, out of the view of the middle class.

    Can’t have reality ruining the celebration of the state which never actually came to be.

  4. dav

    100yrs of blushirt/ff misrule, the sooner both parties sink into irrelevancy the better for this nation.

      1. dav

        in the age of de interwebs, dat mightn’t be as much of a relief to you and yours, as you might believe..

    1. ahjayzis

      Why do you drop the E from blueshirt?

      And you realise they refer to themselves as blueshirts, right? They don’t view it as an insult.

  5. Rob_G

    Given his own odd brand Celto-Catholicism, I’m not sure the Pearse would have been madly-keen on single mothers.

    1. ahjayzis

      He was terrified of women by all accounts. And I think we’re all too polite/worshipful to say it – but wasn’t he a kiddie fiddler?

  6. Chromium

    The men and women of 1916, many of whom were syndicalists, certainly did fight for a free and equal country where people would have the right to work and housing.

  7. Truth in the News

    How much empty property is in the hands of NAMA aound Dublin and elsewhere
    that can house the Homeless….The populace need to occupy NAMA on Easter
    Sunday, it would be a worthy tribute to the Patriots of 1916.

  8. Teri (Teresa) Byrne

    Good Luck Erica – you ask for a Peaceful Protest for equality and homes for you and family – God Bless you – And indeed all homeless people in Ireland today…

  9. Joe Soap

    I’m a bit confused here. So I’ve 2 questions which might help clear things up in my muddled little brain.
    1. Who is paying for these hotel rooms where the “homeless” are living?
    2. Who pays the mortgage on the house where I am living? (Hint – I do).

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