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Homeless Dublin man living in car with brain damaged-incontinent wife

Patrick Murphy and his ailing wife Pauline
Patrick Murphy and his ailing wife Pauline

A couple whose home was fire-bombed by thugs two years ago has been living in their €200 car for the last two months.

Former security guard Patrick Murphy is desperate to find a home for his ailing wife Pauline, who suffers from brain damage.

The 58-year-old father of three broke down in tears as he told how council red tape had stopped all attempts to find a house or flat.

“I’m at the end of my tether. I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” he cried while telling the Sunday World his story.

“All I want is to get a roof over my wife’s head so she can have a wash and get back to normal. She is incontinent now and is peeing in the car. The smell is awful, but we have nowhere else to go.”

The couple’s nightmare began two years ago when the eldest of their three sons, Patrick Jnr, “fell in with the wrong crowd” and got imprisoned for drugs, says Patrick.

After he was sent down, a gang targeted the family home in Clondalkin, Dublin, in the middle of the night.

“I was sleeping downstairs to give my wife space as she is ill and my other two boys Frankie and Alex were sleeping in bed,” says Patrick. 

“They smashed a window at ten to two in the morning, pulled back the curtain and threw a petrol bomb and the house went up in flames. At one point my hair was on fire.

“The place went into darkness with the smoke and Frankie had to crawl on his hands and knees to get to his mum’s bedroom. 

“He could not find her, but got her on the landing and practically had to throw her downstairs to get her out of the house. He burnt his throat saving her and was in hospital for a week. He still has nightmares.

“My wife suffered from smoke inhalation and was in hospital for two days, but me and Alex were let go the next morning.

“We lost everything in the fire and my wife still asks me where is her wedding ring and engagement ring? She can’t remember things.”

The family were first put up in nearby Bewley’s Hotel, but were forced to move after death threats were received against them. They also had to move from a hotel in

Tallaght after being spotted outside.

“I was never in trouble with the police in my life and used to work 12-hour shifts until my wife got sick and I had to care for her,” says Patrick.

“We owned our own home and lived there for 28 years, but it was completely destroyed. I don’t know what the row was about between my son and this gang, but we are paying the price.”

Patrick was able to sell the shell of his house for €120,000 and says he has now used up all the cash on hotels and B&Bs over the last two years and is desperate for help.

“South Dublin County Council have asked me for bank statements, documents, letters from gardaí and I have given them everything,” he said.

“But the guards said the council would have to request the letter about the fire-bomb incident and apparently the request went to the wrong place and nothing has happened for weeks.

“Meanwhile, we have been left living in the car, getting washed in garages and using toilets wherever we can.”

The couple has been helped by Dublin charity HOPE and Inner City Helping the Homeless, who this week gave them food and fresh clothes.

HOPE’s Alison Gray said: “I have made about 20 phone calls to South Dublin County Council on their behalf and am told the official dealing with it will ring me back, but he never does.

“We are used to dealing with officials on the north side of the city and this would have been sorted by now. There seems to be no communication between them and the guards.

“The council do not seem to have taken into consideration this woman’s health problems. 

“The couple have no home and no money and they are desperate for help. Why is nobody doing anything?”

Meanwhile, Patrick, who is originally from Artane in Dublin’s northside, said he would live anywhere but the south side, because of his fears over the gang.

“We know who fire-bombed our house because they were in the area earlier and attacked my son’s girlfriend’s car. They are well-known gangsters.

“But every time we are in the area someone tips them off and we have to move.”

He said his 55-year-old wife, who suffers from organic brain syndrome, gets an injection every fortnight to keep her calm.

“She is not equipped to live like this. Her mind has gone and she keeps saying she wants to go home. 

“She was the best in the world until she got sick. All I want is a roof over her head.”