Belfast Telegraph

‘You never felt safe’: Couple recall life on streets of Dublin

Wesley Condon and Sintija Klava said they were vulnerable to attack, theft and illness when they lived in a tent near Parnell Street.

Wesley Condon and Sintija Klava lived in a tent for two years (Brian Lawless/PA)
Wesley Condon and Sintija Klava lived in a tent for two years (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

A homeless couple have spoken of the struggles of living on the streets of Dublin.

Wesley Condon, 42, and Sintija Klava, 28, are engaged and currently live in Mount Brown Hostel in Dublin city but previously lived in a tent for two years.

They said rampant drug use and lack of couple’s beds in some hostels forced them into a tent near Parnell Street, which left them vulnerable to attack, theft and illness.

“We’ve been homeless for four years now,” Mr Condon said.

“We were in a tent for two years, that was really bad… We’re in Mount Brown hostel now, it’s much better, we’ve a shelter over our head.

We know loads of people still in tents, it's the age that shocks me, it's people who are 19, 20, sleeping in tents, they're getting younger Wesley Condon

“In the tent you never felt safe, you’d come back some nights and the tent would be wrecked so we’d carry all our stuff around, about eight bags each, walking from place to place trying to find somewhere.”

He added: “Most hostels are quite rough, some of them don’t even have doors on them, you’re separated by a curtain and we never went because they’d split men and women up and we couldn’t be together.

“There’s people robbing each other and taking drugs, threatening each other, it’s not where you want to be.

Ms Klava said: “They’re rough, you don’t feel safe, when I went into one on my own I had my phone stolen so we didn’t want to be split up again.”

Mr Condon said their new accommodation is much better but the problem did not appear to be getting any better.

“In the hostel we’re in now, we have our own room, we have a lock on the door and a bathroom, and we can ignore everyone else,” he said.

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The couple said they never felt safe when living in a tent (Brian Lawless/PA)

“We know loads of people still in tents, it’s the age that shocks me, it’s people who are 19, 20, sleeping in tents, they’re getting younger.

“The Government wonders why these people are going into drugs, they don’t start out on drugs, it’s when they’re sleeping in a tent, they get into the cycle, that’s how it starts, they take drugs to escape reality, if the Government could stop it at that age it would be better.”

He added: “As far as I can see, there’s no communication between the groups, you’d go to (the charity) DePaul, they’ll tell you one thing, then you go to Focus Ireland, they tell you another, we’ve been through the whole lot.”

The couple have been on housing waiting lists for four years – they are 147th on one and 240th on another.

They believe it will be another five years before they are allocated a home.

PA

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