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‘I asked my mum if she ever loved me and she said, ‘Of course... I just loved gear more’’

Author and academic Dr Katriona O'Sullivan talks about a childhood marred by neglect, abuse and her parents’ addictions, finding herself pregnant and homeless at 15 and why Trinity College is not made for a girl who comes from extreme poverty

Dr Katriona O'Sullivan. Picture: Steve Humphreys

Tanya Sweeney

Not long before she received her PhD in psychology, Dr Katriona O’Sullivan was waiting outside a Trinity College classroom when a mature student pulled her up for being in the ‘wrong’ place. “You can’t clean in here now,” the fortysomething student said, appraising O’Sullivan’s messy bun, hoodie and jeans. “We have class.”