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Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish

NewsBy Patrick O'Connell
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish
Dublin hoarder forced to sleep on doorstep after filling apartment with rubbish

ONE of Ireland’s worst hoarders has crammed his flat so full of other people’s refuse that he has been forced to sleep on his front doorstep for the last 12 years.

David O’Reilly of the Macken Villa flat complex off Dublin’s Pearse Street this week told the Sunday World he’d prefer to sleep inside his own flat, but his bizarre compulsion to collect other people’s litter has left him a prisoner outside his own front door.

We visited David on Tuesday, just days after Dublin City Council cleared the corridor outside his door, where the pensioner had begun amassing more debris.

Just four days after the council clearout, David had begun surrounding the filthy duvet under which he sleeps with a fresh pile of magazines, newspapers, cartons and litter.

Footage captured by neighbours’ records how David’s bizarre compulsion has left him with no choice but to urinate in plastic containers in the flat complex corridor, while a peek through his council flat windows reveals the extent to which the interior balcony has been crammed floor to ceiling with debris.

Discarded phones, suitcases, books, bills, posters and curtain rails are jumbled amid an eye-watering clutter.

Speaking with the Sunday World, David says his compulsion has resulted in threats that he will be burnt alive or stabbed in his sleep.

“I choose to [live like this],” he told our reporter. “I’ve been threatened with being stabbed – with being burnt.”

Asked whether neighbours’ concerns that his collection was drawing rats into the complex were fair, he responded: “Rats? The rats round here are of the two legged kind.”

Asked whether Dublin City Council had offered him any help for his compulsion, David shook his head and answered: “No!”

When it was put to David he might be suffering from a disorder known as ‘hoarding’, he answered: “Could be.”

Finally, asked if he would accept help he said: “Perhaps… look, I don’t really want to talk about this.

“There are no rats, I mean there are rats around, but you don’t really see them over here.”

Worried neighbours who spoke to the Sunday World have lodged dozens of complaints about David’s behaviour with Dublin City Council’s housing department over the past eight years.

Pictures taken by the residents prior to Friday’s clean-up show how David had lined the corridor outside his home with discarded refuse bags, prams, plastic containers and various other assorted rubbish.

One neighbour complained that David’s ‘collection’ is drawing rats into the complex, while adding that he is kept awake at night by the sounds of David traversing to and from the bins adding to his refuse collection.

“He’s been sleeping outside in the corridor since 2004,” a neighbour said.

“Even during the two winters when we had the big freezes with all the snow and everything. When I moved in here in 2008 I contacted the council about it.

“And since then I’ve put in 66 complaints – but nothing is being done. It does draw rats down here.

“I’ve put in for transfers for the past year-and-a-half, but nothing has come of that either.”

The neighbour said council workers receive a Garda escort when they come, approximately twice a month, to remove the build-up of clutter from outside David’s front door.

“It’s a crazy situation really because there are people out there who would give an arm and a leg for a flat and here’s this guy living on his own doorstep because he’s filled his flat with refuse.”

Contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Dublin City Council confirmed they were aware of the issue in the Macken Villas complex.


How compulsion ruins lives

  • Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a pattern of behaviour characterised by excessive acquisition and an inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment.
  • Compulsive hoarding behaviour has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, economic burden and adverse effects on friends and family members.
  • Hoarding can prevent typical uses of space, enough so that it can limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. 
  • It can also put the individual and others at risk of fires, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.
  • Compulsive hoarders may be aware of their irrational behaviour, but the emotional attachment to the hoarded objects far exceeds the motive to discard the items.