Homeless man Jonathan Corrie sold two houses his parents had given him

Adoptive mother tells retired dean they sought to accommodate man and his partner

In a scene from the RTE documentary 'The High Hopes Choir' filmed earlier this year by Tyrone Productions. David Brophy talks to Jonathan Corrie.

 

Jonathan Corrie’s adoptive parents bought him two houses in succession but he sold both, the retired Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin Very Rev Robert MacCarthy has said.

The Dean had been a curate in Kilkenny and the Corrie family were among his parishioners.

He told The Irish Times that Jean Corrie, Jonathan’s adoptive mother, had told him the family did everything possible for Jonathan, including buying both houses so he and his girlfriend might have accommodation.

Jean Corrie, the Dean said, was very upset at the news of Jonathan’s death, particularly its circumstances, and she recalled how she had spoken to him only last week.

Dean MacCarthy said that a former classmate of Jonathan’s from Kilkenny College had recognised him on a Dublin street last week.

They had a coffee and talked. The classmate produced a mobile phone and asked Jonathan whether he would like to talk to his mother.

He said he would, and he did.

The Dean said Jonathan had a serious drug problem.

He also recalled how Jonathan had been a choirboy in St Canice’s Cathedral in Kilkenny.

Mr Corrie’s former partner Catherine McNeill, with whom he had two childdren, said it was his troubles with addiction that were the source of his problems.

“They took over his life,” she said. “He went to live in Dublin. Myself and the children went on a few occasions trying to find him, asking a few of the homeless people if they’d seen him or [knew of] his whereabouts, but he wasn’t anywhere to be found.

So we just stopped looking for a while, but he was always at the backs of our minds.”

She said she lost contact with him for a time because his addiction was “getting the better of him” and he had to stay in Dublin to be close to a treatment clinic.

“About two years ago, myself and my children were coming back from Heuston Station and we met Jonathan, so we gave him our phone number if he ever wanted to contact us,” she said.

“He was very sad. His two children just gave him a hug and the phone number and we said we’d always be here for him if he needed us, but he needed to stay up in Dublin.

“He did genuinely want to get the help but he wasn’t sure really how to go about it. He tried to do his best to be a dad to his children.”

Ms McNeill, said she was engaged in an “on/off” relationship with Mr Corrie for about ten years.

Mr Corrie’s 14-year-old daughter Natasha McNeill Corrie said she felt her father had been failed by the State.

“More should have been done to help him,” she said. His 16-year-old son Nathan added Mr Corrie left Carlow because he did not want his family to see him in difficulty.