Sunday, 7 December 2014


Jonathan Corry a homeless man, died last week in a doorway, across from the Irish parliament, after spending 30 years sleeping rough in Dublin.

I too was a homeless man in Dublin 30 years ago and I probably crossed paths with Jon, as we moved in the same circles. Unlike Jon, I stayed in the Salvation Army and other hostels for the homeless but that was before the Government's austerity programme, cut funds to hostels for the homeless. Every time I begged in Dublin, I hated myself, because I knew from experience, that it was the decent people who gave me something. The more I hated myself, the more I drank and it just became a vicious circle, until it came to the point, where I decided the decent thing to do, was a hold-up. I held up a supermarket on Dorset Street one morning and because I was in no fit state to do so, I was arrested not far from Dorset Street. Even the Police and the Judge, could see my condition and I got just a 6 month prison sentence.

Fortunately for me I ran into a guy in prison, from a well known literary family, who read a lot and practiced yoga, during his 7 year sentence for picking up drugs at Dublin Airport. He got me into reading daily, a book called the I Ching, translated for Europe by Carl Jung. Before I left prison at the end of my sentence, we did one last reading together, which approximately told me, that fools like a dog chasing it's tail, keep repeating the same mistakes in life, over and over, without learning anything from them. My interpretaion of this was, that I should immediately get out of Dublin on my release, because I could see the streets were getting meaner, particularly, in the matter of drug addiction.

As I related in an earlier post, I headed for the island of Inishfree in Donegal, where there was a self supporting commune, based on the Primal Scream, which was an alternative to the nuclear family of society. Anyway it didn't work out, so I took to travelling the roads of Ireland daily, each day walking and hitching to a new town and sleeping rough. I slept in sheds, haystacks, old delapidated caravans, under trees, large dog houses, horses stables or just under the stars, if the weather was good, and my sole posession, was one torn sleeping bag, wrapped up in plastic, slung over my shoulder. I had a head full of broken dreams and a lonely heart, that demanded I just keep moving, rather than dwell on them. After travelling most of Ireland, I eventually found my way to a hostel of the Simon community in Galway. There were 12 of us there and it smelled of piss, rang to shrieks of men either drunk or in the DTs and was rough to put it mildly.

By chance, while queuing for clothes one evening at the Vincent De Paul, I could see two fellows in the same position as myself from the Simon community, who were whispering among themselves and seemed to be in a better condition than me, which made me curious. The more I enquired, the more secretive they became, but I eventually learned, that they were going to a meeting of a recovery programe from alcoholism. This is how I found my first meeting. Other people's anonymity, demands that my story stops there. The two men who brought me, went out drinking later and both died from alcoholism, in a very similar way to Jonathan Corr, the other on an operating table, because his liver packed in. That is 27 years ago and fortunately for me, due to the Sunlight of the Spirit, it worked for me, from then on, which is rare. I could never have done it on my own and I would have wound up like Jonathan many years ago, I have little doubt about that.

Ireland is a very vicious place to be either an alcoholic or a drug addict, where life is cheap and the solution for drugs is often kneecapping. I was fortunate enough after a few years sobriety, to move to the Netherlands, where rehabiltation, rather than brute force and prison is the solution. In fact in the Netherlands, their prisons are empty. Because alcoholism and drug addiction carry many more social problems, they have found it more economical to give free drink to alcoholics and free heroin to addicts, in return for picking up the litter, than deal with all of the other problems of drug dealing and antsocial alocoholism. They are given decent accomodation and meals as well. This is why their prisons are empty. It must be cost effective, because I know the Dutch sufficently well, to know, that they would not do it otherwise.

Things have become so bad in Ireland and particularly Dublin, that even the English are more civilized. To be fair, there are some police in Ireland, who will give you the benefit of the doubt, if you pass the attitude test. However there is a crowd of thugs among them, who will first provoke a situation as in right2 water protests and then batter all round them, over the head with flailing batons. With austerity and because of the bailout of the banks, there are increasing numbers of homeless on the streets daily. The process of eviction is brutal and like the Irish Water story, the Irish police are more interested in serving the banks interests, rather than the people. As I said earlier it's far worse than England, the video below, explains the difference on how they handle situations of the banks, versus the people. Rest in peace Jonathan Corry, I believe you have gone to a far better place, than Corporate Ireland, where the people of no property are treated as trash.

Below is an account of Jonathan Corr's life by one of Denis O'Brien's papers, the same owner of Irish water. Read it with a cold eye, because he is currently demonizing Irish water protesters.

Homeless man who died in doorway yards from parliament spent miserable 30 YEARS sleeping rough

Heartbreaking facts of Jonathan Corrie's freezing life on the streets revealed in three-year-old interview with Dublin student

Jonathan Corrie
Protest: A candlelit demonstration was held at the spot that homeless Jonathan Corrie was found dead

A homeless man who died in a Dublin doorway just yards from Irish Parliament told of his miserable life on the streets before his lonely death.
And Jonathan Corrie, 43, revealed in the interview with a student three years ago that he spent THIRTY YEARS begging and sleeping rough after fleeing his Kilkenny home.
Jonathan told the student: "I've been homeless since I was 13-and-a-half; I'm 40 now. There’s a reason why most people are homeless... most people beg to support their drug habit."
In a tragic coincidence it also emerged Jonathan – whose death has sparked a political storm in Ireland – was filmed as part of RTE documentary The High Hopes Choir, reports The Irish Mirror.
Sophie Pigot, who discovered Jonathan on Monday at 8am, said the dad-of-two was "ice cold" and had been dead for at least an hour when she found him.
Irish Environment Minister Alan Kelly called an emergency forum to tackle the growing homelessness crisis in Ireland.

RTEJonathan Corrie
Tragic death: Jonathan Corrie interviewed for RTE's High Hopes documentary

Jonathan’s lonely death on steps just a short walk from Leinster House has been branded a “national disgrace”.
Episode one of The High Hopes Choir sees David Brophy, who is the former principal conductor of the RTE Concert Orchestra, walking around Dublin city in a bid to build a choir of homeless and unemployed people.
And Jonathan is approached near St Stephen’s Green. Asked if he is homeless the deceased man said: "Yes 100%, I am. For the last two years I am pretty much out on the street."
The programme also features appearances from stars Bressie, Shane Filan and Ed Sheeran.
A spokeswoman for RTE said: “I am aware of it but until the man outside the Dail is positively identified and his family have been informed then we will not be commenting further.”
Jonathan, who was known as ‘Teardrop’ because of a tattoo on his cheek, also told the student: "I’m staying in a hostel now, but it’s closing in two months due to funds being cut. I lived in a squat for one-and-a-half years and I’ve been in the hostel for one-and-a-half years.

Barbara LindbergJonathan Corrie
Paying respects: A man lights a candle in the doorway where Jonathan Corrie died

“Dublin is better than Kilkenny for begging, because I get food and more money. We get moved within two minutes in Kilkenny.”
Jonathan, who admitted using drugs, told how he could make €30 (£24) in the doorway.
He revealed: “I’ll make €30 sitting in here for three hours; that’s more than I’d get for working in a real job. Even if I wasn’t homeless, I’d still beg.
“There’s a reason why most people are homeless... most people beg to support their drug habit.”
Louisa McGrath spoke to him after finding him begging with a paper cup.
Ms McGrath, now a freelance journalist, recalled: “After we turned down his request for payment, he settled for an offer of tea and a sandwich. He requested his favourite: chicken and coleslaw on white bread.

Barbara LindbergEnda Kenny and Joan Burton
Angry response: Protesters made their message clear outside Ireland's parliament buildings

“His tired, weather-beaten face bore a teardrop tattoo on the right cheek and his hair was brown. He wore dark, worn jeans and a short black coat which wouldn’t provide much defence against the bitter cold.
“Speaking matter-of-factly and without any self-pity, Jonathan described how he was born in Dublin and then moved to Kilkenny when he was adopted. It was here that he became homeless after running away from home.
“He later decided to move back to the capital. He went on to say that he got more hassle staying in a hostel than sleeping rough, but he described the streets as tough and particularly hard during snowy weather.
“The saddest part of speaking with him was that after spending more than half his life without a home, he had no hopes or ambitions to get off the streets.
“The State had failed to help him during his 30 years of homelessness and for reasons unknown he didn’t want his family to know where he was.
“He wasn’t happy on the streets, but he had given up on any alternatives.”

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