Eric Murphy, former Jigginstown Manor resident

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Eric grew up in Naas with two brothers and a sister, he enjoyed his childhood, he was “very much into football.” Eric explains that his parents were there for him throughout his life, even in his darkest times. Eric explains, “One or two traumatic events happened, and that kind of shaped my childhood; I couldn’t deal with the emotions. I started to struggle in school and started to feel insecure; I got a bit disconnected from those around me.” Eric says he was given a lot of help, but “I either couldn’t accept it, or I didn’t know that people were trying to help me at the time.” 

Eric started drinking when he was 14 years old to “stop the pain or stop the hurt – but that didn’t happen, in drinking I found this elusive effect that blocked out all of the negative stuff, allowing me to be a happy person. “He explains that in his mid-teens, he developed a problem with drink. He could never control it. Alcohol led to harder drugs in his late teens which allowed him “to block out the pain, but I was blind to everything else that was happening.” 

At the end of the secondary school, Eric didn’t receive good results, during this time, he was living for the drink and drugs, he says “I had no aspirations or belief in myself, I thought I would always struggle in life.” Eric explained that when you don’t believe in yourself or can’t connect with others – “it’s a lonely place, you’re trapped in yourself and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. “In the next stage of his journey, addiction grabbed a hold of Eric. He got trapped in a cycle of going in and out of rehab centres. Then “the drink and the drugs stopped working, I would get a short fix but then in a few hours, I would feel even worse then when I started. “

After several homeless hostels, he came into Jigginstown Manor (Transitional Housing for Young Adults in homelessness). Jigginstown Manor was the brainchild of Naas Businessman John Craddock along with Naas men Clive Brownlee, Padraig Mc Manus, Tim O’ Connell, Gerry Prendergast who approached Punchestown Businessman Aubrey McCarthy to establish a service to change the lives of young homeless people in County Kildare. 

Jigginstown Manor entrance

The first person that he felt was there to help him was his key worker, Carly Whyte. He explains; “in the services you meet a lot of good people but in our key working sessions, I started to see positive things in myself, it was also the first time I had a space for myself, which was beneficial, he says “I decided to take this seriously and take the support, because I knew that if this didn’t work, there was a chance I would end up losing my life.” Eric explains that the staff team showed him care, love, and support with employment, volunteering, and recovery, “which led me to a network of people, and then everything started to take off. “ 

Eric believes that the various supports, underpinned by Tiglin’s holistic approach, and his parents' life-long support contributed to him getting well. Eric now believes that education is vital; having done poorly in his leaving cert, he was thinking, “I can’t really do this, but I’ve done six modules in the last year, and my belief has grown. Also, I am now working in Jigginstown Manor, and it is a privilege, it’s great to see people getting well. “He said that getting used to being a staff member took a while but that other residents have a high level of respect for him.

Eric concluded that his life now is full of good things such as good friends, work, education, family, faith in God but he also has his own confidence, and ability to help other people. Eric's message to young people in Kildare experiencing homelessness is clear “The suffering won’t last forever, the services in Kildare are getting bigger, so why not reach out for help and end the suffering? The want for the change has to come from the inside, otherwise you’re going to fall thought the cracks.