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Homeless man tells of 'desperation and fear' on the streets

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Noel Nestor tells of the psychological damage he faced while suffering from homelessness in a documentary set to air on TG4

Noel Nestor tells of the psychological damage he faced while suffering from homelessness in a documentary set to air on TG4

Noel Nestor tells of the psychological damage he faced while suffering from homelessness in a documentary set to air on TG4

A homeless man has revealed the fear and desperation he suffered living in his car with his beloved dog.

Noel Nestor (36) lost all sense of self-worth and at one point consoled himself with the thought he could always commit suicide.

The Galway man has revealed the psychological damage being homeless can cause in a shocking documentary which looks at the homeless crisis in the City of Tribes, to be shown on TG4 on Wednesday night.

Tabu: Homeless In Galway follows the plight of Noel, and others, as he tries to get his life back on track with charity Cope.

He said he started living in his Ford Fiesta van in a cold snap in 2018 when the temperature plummeted to -6C.

"There is no insulation, it's just a normal car, so you felt every bit of the cold," he said.

Torture

"You could hear people walking outside in the middle of the night and cars pulling in beside you. I did not feel secure.

"I would just freeze, not move, not make any noise and try to make sure my dog Mia was calm at the same time."

Things got even worse in the hot summer.

"There is no air-con in there and you can't leave the windows down. It's torture," he said.

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Noel started living in his Ford Fiesta with his beloved dog, Mia

Noel started living in his Ford Fiesta with his beloved dog, Mia

"With the cold you can put on more layers but the heat was driving me mad towards the end.

"The other option was a tent but there are too many horror stories. I've met an awful lot of people in similar types of situations.

"They save up for weeks to get a tent, all their belongings are in it, they might have a doctor's appointment in town and when they come back the tent is gone, everything is gone. So they are back to square one."

College graduate Noel said his life spiralled out of control when he suffered post-traumatic stress after being abused by a nun when he was young.

"Before I was homeless I would have thought a homeless person would be a guy in a sleeping bag on the side of the street with a cup begging for money," he said.

"It's not like that. There's a full spectrum of people - there are families, young kids, single parents, old people, young people, there's no one immune to it.

Charity

"I had no one to turn to, and I mean no one, to the point I rang the Samaritans one time.

"During the heaviest of the depression I thought suicide would be an option and I used that as comfort for a while."

Eventually, Noel was able to get help from homeless charity Cope and he ended up working in its charity shop which boosted his confidence.

Tabu: Homeless In Galway airs on TG4 on Wednesday at 9.30pm