Abdullah Popoola with his three children Muhammed 7, Zainab 9 and Summayyah 12.

Cork County Council’s new social housing programme is providing homes for East Cork’s homeless and refugees.
Abdullah Popoola a single father of three was among 18 families who officially received one of 29 social housing units at an Faill, Cul Ard last Friday 29 September. The remaining 11 properties will be given out in the coming weeks through the Council’s choice based letting scheme, once snagging is complete.
The new homes were built in partnership with Cork County Council and Murnane O’Shea at a cost of €6.38 million, with a further 25 units planned for the Carrigtwohill area.
The social housing units form part of a countywide construction programme aimed at delivering a further 274 units across Cork county by 2019.
Abdullah Popoola’s family had been crammed into one bedroom in Dublin before moving into a 3-bedroom semi D in Carrigtwohill.
Having settled into their new surroundings the family say the new home has transformed their lives and enabled them to plan for a future in East Cork.
Mr. Popoola was invited to come to Ireland in 2015 after his wife Aishat died from a rare inoperable form of throat cancer, while in the direct provision system in Clonakilty.
Aishat Popoola and her three children fled Nigeria in 2010 as the family’s Muslim religion and both her and Abdullah’s job had put the family’s safety at risk.
Abdullah and Aishat, front-line security consultants to the Nigerian Government were accused by Islamist’s as spies, feeding information to government forces.
Abdullah stayed in Nigeria running the family business and had planned to follow on.
It’s been two long and tough years since the former security consultant lost his wife to cancer. Soon after her passing he found himself and his three children Muhammed 7, Zainab 9 and Summayyah 12, homeless. Walking the streets of the Capital night after night in the hope of finding emergency accommodation.
“We could be outside, me and the kids at 12am waiting for a call to be put in a B&B. I tell you it was difficult. What was giving me the strength was the spirit of my wife. I promised her I would not let her down. With the last drop of my blood I’m going to give the kids everything they need.”
In the past 12 months the children have been in 6 different schools due to homelessness.
Now Abdullah and his family have a roof over their heads for the foreseeable future.
“Cork was always in our hearts so we are grateful for what the government and council have done for u.” “I tell the children look what society has done for us, now we need to pay back to society.” Abdullah a valued member of the Carrigtwohill community council tells the East Cork Journal.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoughan Murphy who officiated at last week’s opening, took some time out to give 7 year old Muhammed’s bedroom cleaning a ministerial seal of approval.
Speaking exclusively to the East Cork Journal the Housing Minister says the government are getting a handle on the housing crisis, despite the latest homeless figures.
Latest statistics show that homelessness is on the rise outside the Capital, while in Dublin numbers have fallen slightly.
Nationally over 8,000 people have been registered as homeless. For the first time ever, more than 3,000 children are in emergency homeless accommodation.
Minister Murphy admitted a lot more work needed to be done to resolve the housing crisis.
“One family in homelessness is one family too many. The Taoiseach has said it is a stain on our society and this is why we are putting in so many resources and so much effort to try and help these families into hubs but then to sustainable private accommodation, a huge amount of work has been done, a large amount of money has been spent.”
Ahead of next week’s budget the Minister said he was in talks with Minister for Public Spending Pascal O’Donoghue to free up further capital to build more housing from 2019 onwards.
He said, next year the government “are going to build 30% more social houses between Local Authorities and Housing bodies than had been planned.”
The authority are planning on purchasing a number of turnkey units throughout East Cork, 32 in College Manor Cobh almost at completion, 61 units at Abbey Wood Midleton have planning permission granted with significant conditions, conveyancing is currently ongoing with the developer.
In Youghal 42 units are planned with planning granted for 2 units with construction expected to commence shortly.