I couldn’t wait to get out of this hell­hole

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Jake Hur­furt

A LABYRINTH of dimly lit cor­ri­dors lead­ing to a seem­ingly end­less num­ber of bed­rooms, all with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble crammed in – the house in Crum­lin, Dublin was some­where you’d end up when there was nowhere else to go.

Through a front door and a sharp turn, I saw part of the down­stairs of one house but judg­ing from the locked door lead­ing up the stairs, it was ob­vi­ous even more peo­ple lived up­stairs.

The build­ing used to be a shop. Hard black floor­ing with the paint chipped off, more suited to a store­room floor than a home, lay in ev­ery room. Not that there was much space to see the floor. A liv­ing room, strewn with the be­long­ings of the dozens of peo­ple who lived there, seemed al­most pala­tial com­pared to the bed­rooms.

Af­ter squeez­ing two bunk beds, a fridge and a sin­gle cup­board into a room that I could barely stand in with my arms out­stretched, there wasn’t much floor space left.

Most of that was taken up with the clothes and suit­cases of the four peo­ple liv­ing in the tiny room.

Four tow­els dry­ing in the same small room, four bod­ies sweat­ing and the heat of a fridge pro­duced a unique musty smell that’s hard to for­get. Lit by a sin­gle bulb swing­ing on a wire from the ceil­ing, the net­work of cor­ri­dors felt more like a bleak makeshift struc­ture in the woods or an aban­doned prison rather than some­where peo­ple would call home.

Part of me felt like the ex­ten­sion might fall down, if I closed a door too hard or leaned on the wrong wall.

I was only vis­it­ing and I couldn’t wait to get out.

I’d never want to go back in there, let alone spend a night in the hell these poor peo­ple were fork­ing out €250 for the priv­i­lege of ex­ist­ing in.

I say ex­ist, be­cause in con­di­tions like that, you couldn’t re­ally call it liv­ing.

BLeAK: Hard black floor­ing is in ev­ery room

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