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IrelandReal faces of Ireland's homeless crisis as three tell of Dublin hell

09:05  17 september  2019
09:05  17 september  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Real faces of Ireland's homeless crisis as three tell of Dublin hell © Gareth Chaney/Collins Thomas Doyle at the back of the Whitehall bingo hall, Dublin Three homeless people, including a man who sleeps in a pallet-filled shack, described their hell yesterday as they demanded hostels are made safer.

Thomas Doyle, Rosemary Fearsaor-Hughes and Karl Muldoon told how needle-ridden facilities and violent assaults have left them fearing for their lives.

The trio, who frequently sleep on the streets, believe the authorities need to take urgent action to make the premises safer.

Thomas, who said he was sexually abused and physically beaten for three years by three De La Salle brothers at St Lawrence’s school in Dublin’s Finglas in the 1980s, said: “I’ll be lucky to live to see next year.

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“That’s being honest. I’m spitting up clots of blood from the way I’m living. That’s disgraceful.

“I’m five months living here. I have to leave here most mornings to go into Beaumont Hospital and have a shower and a shave. I know the security there.”

Speaking about the abuse he encountered as a teen, the 51-year-old from Ballymun added: “I still see one of them when I try to sleep.”

Real faces of Ireland's homeless crisis as three tell of Dublin hell © Gareth Chaney/Collins Thomas Doyle at the back of the Whitehall bingo hall, Dublin

Thomas, who last stayed in a Peter McVerry hostel on Aungier Street 18 months ago, added: “Yes, I feared for my life. I feel safer on the street, that’s being honest.

“If I had a six-month bed I could get clean and get my old job back as a spark.

“I’m a heroin addict but I don’t use needles and that’s what I’m afraid of [in the hostels].

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But two years ago, Ireland ’ s laureate of working class drama heard a homeless mother in Dublin Rosie tells the story of a young couple and their four children forced out of their home when their Rosie confronts a homelessness crisis that can be too easily dehumanised by statistics, said Doyle.

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“Three years ago I was pulled down to the ground by two chaps in that hostel in Aungier Street and they put syringes to my neck and said, ‘Give me your money’.

“They took €130 and I was only after collecting my social welfare.”

Thomas, who lives in a pallet-filled shack, said he noticed sin bins for disposing of used needles in the Peter McVerry hostel in Aungier Street.

Fr Peter McVerry told the Irish Mirror last night: “Yes, we do have sin bins. We know people are using drugs and there’s no way of stopping them.”

He added it was particularly challenging when people are coming into emergency hostels and one-night-only hostels to manage the influx of drugs.

Real faces of Ireland's homeless crisis as three tell of Dublin hell © Gareth Chaney/Collins Rosemary Hughes on Parnell Square, Dublin

Grandfather-of-two Thomas said: “I was in Limerick a few years ago but I came back to the same thing in Dublin, nowhere to live so I went back on the heroin.

Tony Walsh, founder and chief executive of the Feed Our Homeless charity, said: “I come up to him every night and nobody engages with him only us.

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“He won’t go into the hostels because they’re not safe. The one night beds don’t work, you’re given a bed tonight and you don’t know where you stand tomorrow.

We need hostels to be made safer so guys like this can go in off the street.

Rosemary, who has been homeless for 10 years, divides her time between sleeping rough in a doorway and staying in Depaul’s homeless hostel on Little Britain Street.

The 36-year-old, who is visually impaired and has a guide dog, said: “To say the homeless hostel is dangerous is an understatement.

“There are 68 people in there and there is a high percentage on stuff and there’s drugs everywhere.

“It’s supposed to be a long-term hostel but there’s a lot of night-by-night people in there at the moment and I’ve been there two months and I’m kind of night-by-night at the moment.”

Rosemary suffers from fibromyalaiga, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, and other symptoms such as extreme tiredness, headaches , muscle stiffness and difficulty sleeping.

She had been staying in a homeless hostel in John’s Lane’s West up until three years ago, which was one of few, which catered for her disability needs. She said: “When it closed down literally everyone was put back on the streets.”

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Rosemary, who said she has been assaulted and threatened in needle-ridden facilities, added: “They need to have clean hostels. If you’re clean you should have the option of a clean hostel.

Real faces of Ireland's homeless crisis as three tell of Dublin hell © Provided by Reach Publishing Services Limited Emergency hostel where Rosemary Fearsaor-Hughes is staying

“I’ve been sleeping rough for the last three years and this is the first hostel I’ve been in since then.

“I slept on Grafton Street in a doorway and if I don’t sleep there I’ll pitch a tent somewhere if I can.”

Rosemary, from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, who has been living in Dublin for 20 years, insists the homelessness services system is a vicious cycle.

She explained: “To get on the list you have to be in homeless accommodation for six months, then you get allocated a six-month bed.

“So you’ve got to be accessing the freephone number every day for six months on a night-by-night basis.

“And if you skip a night you go back down the list again.

“The system currently works to keep you homeless.”

Dubliner Karl, who has been on and off the streets for 25 years, said: “I’ve been living in the hostels for 10 years and then I moved out [16 months ago] and I moved into a tent.

“There’s a lot of drugs in the hostels and there was sin bins in all the rooms in the hostels and in the toilets, that’s giving them permission to take drugs.

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“They tell you you’re not allowed do drugs in the place.

“So why do they have sin bins in the place?

Karl insisted the checks are only every hour and sometimes they don’t even happen that frequently.

Real faces of Ireland's homeless crisis as three tell of Dublin hell © Provided by Reach Publishing Services Limited Karl

He added: “In 2013 I caught foreign TB in a hostel in Aungier Street.

“There could be five or six in every room, taking every drug, smoking in front of you, getting stuff inside them.

“You ask to go to the toilets, they don’t have respect for you.

Karl, who has smoked cannabis but never went near harder drugs, continued: “I saw a lady have a miscarriage right in front of me.

“She went into the toilet and had a turn-on and came back out and the baby fell out of her. It was down to that lady going in and taking whatever she took in that syringe.”

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