In the latest edition of our Dubliners series, we talk to Patrick, a Tyrone native living in Tallaght working to combat the homeless crisis.
“I’m originally from Clady in Tyrone and I have been living in Tallaght for the last four years.
I love living in Dublin as there’s always loads to do.
I don’t think I could live in the country again, it’s too quiet!
Before moving to Dublin I lived in Meath for 10 years.
My big passion would be Gaelic football, it’s always been a massive part of my life.
I played for my local club at home and then I played with Kilmainham in Meath.
After I got sent off a few times in 2009 the Meath County Board chairman at that time said to me “why don’t you take up the refereeing?”
I told him I’d do a better job than half of them out there!
I’ve been a referee for a decade now and I still love it, it’s a good way of staying involved in football.
My other big passion would be housing activism.
A few years ago I successfully fought an unfair eviction against my own landlord and it was that experience that made me want to try and help other people in what can be a terrifying situation.
I started advocating for and supporting tenants in cases with both landlords and the RTB (Residential Tenancies Board).
After winning many of these cases too I set up a group in Tallaght called Dublin South West Housing Action.
We have been very busy, there are so many people in our community who have the threat of eviction hanging over them, it’s frightening and it’s only going to get worse.
The tenants contact us with any issues they are dealing with and if we can help them, we’ll help them or client guide them.
If we can take the case we’ll take it, sometimes it’s impossible with the amount of cases we’re getting in, we are a support group.
I’m proud to say I’ve taken hundreds of cases against landlords and won nearly all of them.
I give it everything because I feel so strongly about protecting people from homelessness.
You hear a lot of people talking about how bad the homeless crisis is, posting stuff on social media, yet do absolutely nothing.
If they feel so strongly why don’t they do something to help? Talk is easy.
In this day and age nobody should be sleeping on the streets.
It also makes me so angry when I hear the ignorance of some people who say that “oh these people on the streets or without a home are druggies, alcoholics, it’s their fault.”
Most of our homeless here in Dublin do not have addictions and for the people that do there should be 24 hour services to help them.
Everyone is only one pay cheque away from the street.
Dublin is a great city and I really like Dublin people…apart from when it comes to football!
I’m hoping Tyrone can get revenge for our All Ireland Final defeat to the Dubs last year.
I think we will. Somebody is going to beat them and I reckon it’s going to be Tyrone…”