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.