O’Donnell Family Currently Struggling To Cope With Life On The Streets


“IT’S quite a change from Killiney,” says Brian O’Donnell, as he folds his grubby sleeping bag into his backpack and makes his way out of the alley behind Supermacs on O’Connell Street. It’s been nearly a month since O’Donnell, his wife and his two children were forced to leave their home in the affluent Dublin area, and sleeping rough is beginning to take its toll on them.

Patriarch Brian, along with his wife Patricia, have been living rough on the streets since losing their 19th High Court bid to keep their Gorse Hill home. Their two kids, Blake and Blaise, are also sleeping on the streets somewhere in the city. They haven’t made contact with their parents in weeks, and Patricia is understandably frantic.

“We don’t know where they are, or if they’re safe,” sobbed Patricia, who stood by her husband as he steadfastly refused to give up ownership of their clifftop home despite owing up to €75m to the banks.

We just hope they’re eating well, and haven’t fallen in with a bad crowd. The nights get pretty cold out here; me and Brian were lucky to find a couple of sleeping bags which didn’t smell too bad, so we get by. There’s some people come round with soup and sandwiches in the evenings… I just hope Blake and Blaise are doing as well”.

Like the many homeless people currently living on the streets of our capital, Brian spends most of his day trying to scrape together enough money to buy food, and shelter. Waking early to get a ‘good spot’ at an ATM or Luas stop, O’Donnell faces frequent harassment from Gardaí who move him along.

“I’m just trying to get enough for a night in the Shelbourne,” sobbed O’Donnell, after losing a High Court battle to stop Guards moving him away from a Luas stop.

“On top of it all, Bank Of Ireland are still after me to pay back the millions I owe. They want 70c out of every euro I get on the street here… I just can’t catch a break”.

As we leave the O’Donnells at the end of the day, they’re curling into a ball together in a filthy doorstep. With nowhere to go except any of their other high-profile properties scattered across the globe, they seem doomed to become just another statistic of the demise of the Celtic Tiger.