“When the drug dealers he owed money to called to my door and wanted me to settle his debts, I’d had enough.”
Jolene had tried over and over again to persuade her son Barry, 17, to get help for his addiction but she couldn’t get through to him.
“He started to cry and walked out. I didn’t see him again until it was too late,” she says.
Jolene is a single mother living in a large local authority housing estate. She and Barry’s father separated three months after he was conceived.
“We were young and we were stupid and staying together made no sense,” Jolene says. “I never blamed him. He works in England now.”
Gangs have always been a part of life on the estate where Jolene lives. She can remember being taken aside by a friend of her father’s when she was in her early teens in the mid-1990s.
“He told me that if I got in trouble – the sort where someone needed to be warned off, I could always call on him,” she says. “I suppose, even then, I knew he was a bad guy, but around here he was sort of a hero too.
Source: Shane Dunphy, The Journal.ie, 06/01/19