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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

Homeless lives: 'I took heroin for the first time on Christmas Day'

Read Jonathon’s story here.


A BABY FACE belies Jonathon’s heroin addiction, seven years on the street and his tragic past.

The 25-year-old Dubliner, one of eight children, sleeps rough in the city centre. While begging recently, he met with photographer Donal Moloney who is currently working on a homelessness project.

He told him his life story, so far, and showed him a hidden talent.

Jonathon’s trouble began at 18 years of age when his girlfriend “died in my arms”.

“She overdosed on ecstasy pills and I caused a bit of trouble in the family home,” he offers as a simple explanation for his homelessness. “My ma couldn’t take it anymore so she asked me to leave.”

I smoked a bit of weed and hash at the time but when she died, two days before Christmas seven years ago, and I ended up on the heroin Christmas Day seven years ago.

He has since stopped taking heroin and is on a methadone programme, looking to get into treatment.

“The methadone keeps me away from heroin,” he said.

Day-to-day living for Jonathon entails trying to budget €144 per week on food and hostels.

However, a bed inside is not always guaranteed.

“It depends, sometimes when you ring, you can’t get a bed so you have no choice but to say outside. It’s freezing.”

Source: Donal Moloney/Vimeo

Hear some of Jonathan’s music:

Source: Donal Moloney/Vimeo

Thanks to Donal Moloney for permission to use images and video. See more of his work at his Facebook page here.

Top pic: Andrew Bennett via Flickr/Creative Commons

Catch up with the rest of the Homeless Ireland series

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