Megan Jordan was getting more and more desperate as she browsed the ads for somewhere to rent.
ome landlords were asking for up to €1,600 a month for three-bed houses in the villages close to where she grew up in Wexford.
As the days grew shorter, her worries increased.
It wasn’t that long since she had found out she was pregnant, and it was not going to be possible to live with her partner Liam’s parents in Ballyhogue, between Wexford and Enniscorthy, much longer.
An initial plan to build an extension onto their house seemed to be going nowhere. The credit union was asking a lot of questions about securing the property, despite her partner’s family offering guarantees.
Then she found somewhere to rent in Bree. Knowing someone who knew someone helped, she said. She feels lucky, although a €1,100 deposit on top of €1,100 a month’s rent, plus filling the oil tank for winter have wiped out a big chunk of their savings.
It’s a big financial stretch beyond her first rental, a one-bed apartment in Edermine, which cost €130 a week.
“It’s a lot of money to hand out straight away, and with Christmas on the way. we’ve both had to cancel our savings,” she said.
She feels further than ever from being able to buy a home.
Like her partner Liam, a tiler, Megan works full time. She is a deputy manager at a local creche.
“Just by luck, I had been looking at ads and saw this two-bed for €1,100 a month, which is not as steep as houses are going for at the moment and bins are included in that.
“We’re very lucky to have found here, but it’s very frustrating,” she said.
“When I moved into Liam’s home place, the council took me off the social housing list because we had adequate living conditions. I had been on the list since my early 20s.
“Two houses became available in Ballyhogue and one was beside my mother, who had had a heart attack. It would have been ideal.
“I contacted local politicians but was told I was living in a four-bedroom house now with a partner and ‘why would you need a house?’
“I went and got a degree. I’ve worked all my life since I left school. While I did my degree in early education, I had two jobs, working at KFC and in the creche. I just think that anyone who works full time and is trying to better themselves is getting smacked in the face.
“I’m trying to get back on the list, but they’re looking for huge amounts of information. Now, essentially, we’re back at square one.”
Meanwhile, thousands of people are due to gather in Dublin for a national ‘Raise the Roof’ rally today.
Owen Reidy, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, said the housing crisis is the most important issue it is campaigning on at the moment.