Stressed homeless family praises parishioners in Clonmel for strong response

Stressed homeless family praises parishioners in Clonmel for strong response Fr Michael Toomey (right) with Archbishop Okolo

After a call for help by a priest, a homeless family in Tipperary have praised parishioners for the “great support” and offers of accommodation they have received.

Fr Michael Toomey of Clonmel issued the plea at Mass over the weekend and received the first offer of a possible house within the hour. The priest stated that he was looking for a house to rent urgently for a family who “through no fault of their own, are currently homeless in the parish”.

Father-of-two Chris Dolan (30) told this paper it was like “banging our head against a wall” trying to secure housing after his landlord’s situation changed. This resulted in his partner (28), daughter (3) and son (9 weeks) becoming homeless.

Since May 1 they have been living in a B&B which has caused a lot of “stress”.

“When Fr Toomey released a statement and said it at Mass it got a great response from parishioners offering rooms and offering their houses which is great,” he said.


The family are in a “good financial situation” after getting their deposit from their house back, but can’t find any suitable accommodation.

“It’s very stressful. It’s a hard time but we’ll get through. It’s tough on our relationships, we’re killing each other but we’re laughing at each other at the same time. We’re holding in there anyway,” added Mr Dolan.

Mr Dolan volunteers with Red Cross and provides care and service at many events in and around Clonmel, as well as emergency help when needed.

“The biggest frustration is, why it appears no one is talking to this couple from the housing department, and why are there so many vacant houses, some owned by the council, when there are so many people like this particular family literally walking the streets of Clonmel every day?” Fr Michael asked.

After the Masses, Fr Toomey received a number of calls and offers of help, including some people who are willing to allow the family to access their houses during the day to save them walking the town. He also had people contact him who are making enquiries with local homeowners who may be in a position to help.

Fr Toomey can be contacted in SS Peter and Paul’s Parish, Clonmel on 052-6122138 if assistance can be offered.