‘Nowhere to stay at Christ­mas’

Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Liam Ross

Tears stream­ing down her face, four-year-old Poppy Dun­leavy is heart­bro­ken as the home­less child hears that she is to spend an­other Christ­mas in a ho­tel bed­room.

In the run-up to Christ­mas, she and mum Leanne will spend their third Christ­mas with­out a home to call their own.

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple have re­acted an­grily to the video of the sob­bing child, cap­tured by her hair­dresser mum Leanne in a Dublin ho­tel.

Poppy is clearly dis­traught, with tears run­ning down red puffy cheeks.

Her mother is seen ask­ing her why she is so up­set.

Cry­ing, Poppy replies: “Be­cause I have nowhere to stay, be­cause we have nowhere else.”

Asked how she felt, Poppy says: “Sad.”

Leanne, 30, said no child should have to suf­fer home­less­ness.

“I just wanted to show the Gov­ern­ment how it’s not only the par­ents that suf­fer be­cause we get on with it,” Leanne said re­leased the video on Face­book.

“It’s tear­ing the chil­dren apart and, by the looks of things, it will prob­a­bly be a fourth Christ­mas, home­less, next year.”

She said she has been in and out of home­less shel­ters for the last two years, due to un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances, and doesn’t ex­pect her sit­u­a­tion to change soon.

A cry­ing Polly said she misses the fam­ily dog Milly, and asks: “Can I get a new dog?”

Leanne again tries to re­as­sure her daugh­ter by say­ing: “When we get a new house, we’ll get a new dog.”

The video has prompted a strong re­sponse on­line,

Face­book user Caroline Pol­nad O’Cal­laghan com­mented: “Poor child ev­ery­one needs to get out and march, bring this coun­try to a stand­still, that’s what needs to hap­pen.”

Sylvia Fox from Dundee, re­sponded: “That’s so sad to see. You think you’re bad off un­til you see this.”

Mar­guerite Devlin said: “In tears here please god you and your beau­ti­ful lit­tle girl be housed very soon.”

Leanne said she has been com­forted by view­ers’ com­ments.

“Loads of lovely peo­ple have con­tacted me and a lot of women that are in the same sit­u­a­tion and other peo­ple that used to be in the same sit­u­a­tion,” she said.

A video in which four-year-old Poppy sobs af­ter she is told she must spend her third Christ­mas home­less has gone vi­ral. Her mother, Leanne Dun­leavy, took the video to high­light the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of home­less­ness on both chil­dren and adults.

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