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Thin line Rory's Stories star reveals his family 'could have ended up homeless'

'They just think stereotypes when they think of homelessness but it can happen to anyone in this day and age because of the lack of houses'

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Rory O’Connor is taking part in Focus Ireland and Bórd Gáis Energy’s Shine a Light campaign

Rory O’Connor is taking part in Focus Ireland and Bórd Gáis Energy’s Shine a Light campaign

Rory O’Connor is taking part in Focus Ireland and Bórd Gáis Energy’s Shine a Light campaign

Social media star Rory O'Connor (34) has told how he and his family nearly ended up homeless after having to leave their rented accommodation.

The Meath creator of the popular 'Rory's Stories' clips spoke about how it can "happen to anyone" and recalled the circumstances which left he and his wife Emma in a crisis situation.

"Back in 2019, we were renting accommodation for seven years and the landlord had to sell the property so we had to move out," he said.

"But there was nowhere affordable in my local area to rent so we had to move back in with my parents. But it was a thin line.

"If we didn't have my parents there, we could have well found ourselves in emergency accommodation like a hotel," the father-of-three said.

"I remember putting it on social media at that time, just for other people to make them aware.

"They just think stereotypes when they think of homelessness but it can happen to anyone in this day and age because of the lack of houses etc.

"So when I was approached, I said I'd love to get involved in the campaign because it's such an important topic at the minute.

"During the lockdown, there weren't as many homeless but now that we're getting back to normal, people's rents aren't frozen anymore and people are finding themselves in emergency accommodation."

The comedian, who features in RTÉ's Ultimate Hell Week, is keen to address the stereotype about what kind of people have bee affected by the homeless crisis.

"People can be homeless for various reasons and people automatically think drugs or crime is the reason you end up on the street but it's not," he said.

"It can happen to anyone in different circumstances; if there's nowhere to rent or the rent is too high.

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"We're all aware that the rents in the country are sky-high at the minute and if you can't afford that, for a family of four or five, then you don't really have much option than to go into emergency accommodation. That's why it's such a thin line."

A father to Ella, Zach and baby Lucy, he managed to save hard during lockdown while living with his parents so he could finally buy his first home in Ashbourne, Co Meath a year ago.

"It was fairly cosy and I'm not sure how much longer we could have lasted. But we bought a house last August after saving the money for the deposit while living with them.

"Thankfully, we're in a house now about a year so I'm really grateful to have my own roof," he said.

He has also spoken openly about his mental health battles and previous issues with gambling.

He has a "very addictive personality" and has worked hard to overcome that, having started gambling when he was around 16.

"I didn't realise it was having a massive effect on my mental health," he said.

"That's why in 2013, I realised I needed ask for help as I was going down a bad road, the help was there for me.

"I got advice and help and that's where Rory's Stories began. I wanted to start something I was passionate about, that was comedy and the rest is history.

"That's why I do so much mental health awareness stuff.

"With my own stories, I want people to understand there's nothing to be ashamed of," O'Connor said.

He was speaking as part of the 'Shine A Light Night' campaign, organised by Focus Ireland and Bórd Gáis Energy.

Rory will be sleeping out in his garden with his family on October 15 as he tries to help raise €1.5m in funding for the homeless charity.

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