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Drugs put me on streets. Hopefully one day I'll get to see my kids again, says father-of-three Peter

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Peter with his cardboard 'home' on Henry Street

Peter with his cardboard 'home' on Henry Street

Peter with his cardboard 'home' on Henry Street

PETER is a father of three children and has been living on the street in Dublin on and off for eight years.

Originally from Clondalkin, one of the 37-year-old's most regular addresses is now an impressive tunnel of boxes he builds every night outside a store in Henry Street.

"For the last three years I've been on the streets full-time, but that's in and out of hostels too," he said.

Getting a hostel bed is difficult, he told the Herald, as sometimes there can be up to 50 people on the waiting list.

"I'll ring the freephone number, but they don't always have beds," he said.

addiction

Peter is on the streets as a result of a drug addiction.

"I went on the drugs and my ex couldn't handle it. I got a few chances, but I ruined it for myself," he said. "Nothing happened to put me out on the streets - I went on drugs and put myself in this position."

He hopes that one day he will kick his habit and get back on his feet.

"I'm getting my head together slowly but surely. Hopefully, one day I'll get to see my kids again," he said.

Peter said that it has been at least two years since he has seen his three children. A recovering heroin addict, he said his main addiction now is sleeping tablets, and he admitted it is a vicious cycle.

"I just need to get my own place so that I have somewhere to bring the kids," he said.

"It's hard, and that's why I take the drugs to block it out, but at the end of the day I'm only fooling myself. I know that.

"You're down so you take drugs, then you're miserable that you've taken drugs and then you take more drugs to forget that."

Peter is on 100ml of methadone a day to help him stay off heroin. He is afraid to come off it because he doesn't want to relapse.

"If I give it up and I take heroin, well then I'm on heroin," he said.

During the day, Peter attends various centres where he can get a free or cheap meal, a shower and a shave.

It's at night that there is a noticeable lack of facilities.

"Even if there was somewhere with big old army tents or something," he said.

His cardboard home is elaborate and staff at the store allow him to stay until just before they open.

"It's got a dog flap and all, but if I didn't have that I would feel a draft," he said.

"Because I clean up after myself they leave me here until just before they open."

hnews@herald.ie


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