By Barry Lord @
The plight of Dublin’s homeless has been movingly illustrated by a man who is without his own accommodation for the past two years.
Clive Thompson was interviewed by Ondine.ie’s Cristian Constantiniu from inside the doorway of a store on Grafton Street, where Clive is forced to reside.
If there is a lesson in Clive’s touching story it’s surely that any one of us could be affected by personal circumstances that leave us broken, cut adrift from society and without a roof over our heads.
“I split with my girlfriend two years ago,” explained Clive. “She was cheating on me with a fella and I caught them red-handed. I was devastated and that’s one of the reasons I found myself where I am now. It’s been a struggle since that happened.”
Clive was honest to admit that at times he gave in to the temptation of drugs and alcohol as a way of escaping the hopelessness of his situation.
“I have taken drugs and alcohol, but not anymore,” said Clive. “It seems now that you have to be a drinker or an addict in some form before you will get any help.”
Clive is facing more hardship as he seeks employment but without the necessary documentation, finding work or welfare support are proving to be obstacles in themselves.
“To get a PPS number, I have to work and I can’t draw the dole without a PPS number. It’s a catch 22 situation I’m in,” said Clive.
Despite these challenges, Clive has set himself goals to dig a way out of the poverty trap he’s found himself in. He aims to go back to college and his few possessions; a notepad and pen and copy of the Bible are helping sustain his mind in the long, dark nights he faces.
“I’m writing a short story at the moment about building character,” explained Clive. “This situation is a test of any man’s character and that’s what I try to get across in my writing. And I read the Bible every day. That keeps me going.”
Clive added: “I want to get back to education. I’d like to study criminal psychology, forensics, law. I’d like to establish a homeless law because we don’t have any rights. I would go as far as trying to start a business that specialised in laws for the homeless. It would give us a voice and give me something purposeful to do.”
When asked what he expected from the general public to do. “Just to listen…” replied Clive.
Clive’s story puts a human face on a problem that continues to blight modern Ireland.
Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney may well have boasted that the number of rough sleepers at the end of November 2015 fell by 46% since the previous year (stats that were confirmed by The Journal. Ie’s GE16 factcheck series) but Colin’s story shows that there is much work to be done in supporting our city’s homeless.