Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


‘We’re forgotten about’: The military veteran left homeless after almost three decades of service

Martin Clarke was a teenager when he saw the appeal of a military career.

The Irish Defence Forces offered everything: Excitement and comradeship, travel, even a hint of danger.

At 17 years old, the Dubliner enlisted in the Army and served almost 30 years in uniform.

He said it was “amazing”, but he chuckled when he thought back to the cockroaches who infested his UN peacekeeping camp, south Lebanon.


However, it proved difficult to adjust to civilian life after 27 year of regiment, routine, and discipline.

Sky News’ 56-year old father-of-2 says that he became homeless after his marriage fell apart. He also said that he moved out of his family home. “I quit the military in 2012 and have been homeless since then.

It’s not a good place – you’re almost invisible to society. It can affect your relationships with your kids, as you don’t have anywhere to take them. It’s not possible to keep taking them out for pizzas or other similar activities. They get older and they do more damage. It is dehumanizing, you know.”

“The situation is rapidly deteriorating”

According to veterans charity ONE, an increasing number of Irish Defence Forces veterans are becoming homeless. The problem has been worsening ever since COVID restrictions were lifted.

Cormac Kirwan, a former soldier who is now leading ONE, says that “the situation is certainly deteriorating.” “Our numbers have increased at all four of our homes since I assumed the role as CEO last year.

“I believe it’s a reflection on society as a whole, when you consider the current financial challenges and the inflationary challenges. Consider the issues veterans have faced, such as PTSD, which has caused anxiety, depression, and even familial breakdown.

All of these combined mean that we are seeing an increase in veterans seeking our assistance regarding homelessness.

Cormac says that the average age of homeless veterans is becoming younger as more people leave the military at an earlier age and have no support system.

Image Martin Clarke, UN peacekeeping officer in south Lebanon in 1991

“We find it very difficult to cope with the real world”

Martin Clarke believes many soldiers are not well-equipped to handle the sudden transition to civilian life.

He says, “We can become institutionalized in the defense forces and it can be very difficult to deal in the real world.” “Because of our closeness, it can be risky when you venture out into the real world. Sometimes you don’t have all the tools you need to navigate your way through the day.

Martin says, “We’re just completely forgotten about,” and is angry at the Irish government’s failure to address the housing crisis.

According to the Department of Housing, the latest available data shows that the number of homeless is now at almost 12,000, an increase of 30% over the previous year.

Image The pop-up shop window of ONE (veterans organization) on Grafton St., Dublin

“The government is not listening”

Martin said, “There’s anger out there, but no one is listening.” It’s okay to be angry.

“The government is not listening. We are way down the priority list in terms of the government.

“They don’t care about us.”

Sky News was informed by a spokesperson for the Irish Department of Defence that: “Department officials regularly meet with representatives of ONE in order to discuss veterans’ concerns.

“A confidential one-to-1 consultation is offered by personnel support service teams to address all aspects of leaving the defense forces. This includes pensions, finance, health, psychosocial issues, and preparation for career changes.

The Irish Defence Forces released a statement stating its support for veterans’ organizations through financial and logistical support. The establishment of an Office for Veterans’ Affairs will help coordinate future support for veterans, it said.

Last year, the Irish Commission on the Defence Forces recommended the establishment of such an office. However, a timeline has not been established. In 2019, the UK established an Office for Veterans’ Affairs. ONE believes that an Irish equivalent would be valuable in aiding vulnerable veterans.

Image Former soldier Brendan Monaghan sits in the shop window

“This is my worst nightmare”

ONE took over a window in Dublin’s Grafton Street this week, displaying bespoke camouflage streetwear outfits. Orla Langan, an Irish designer, created the outfits. The QR code allows people to donate.

It is a reflection on the growing need to raise awareness about Ireland’s veterans’ situation.

Martin, who was homeless as a child and lived in a refuge for women, said, “This is my greatest nightmare – not being able to live.”

Martin is unable to believe that after a life of sacrifice and service, he finds himself once more in the grip of homelessness.

It’s something that I have felt since childhood and it still haunts me today. He says it’s scary.

“I need a little hope, but not much. But, there isn’t any hope.


You May Also Like


The controversial Russian businessman Viktor Baturin, well-known for his years-long counterstanding with his wealthy sister Elena, widow of Moscow ex-mayor Yuri Luzhkov, is likely...

United Kingdom

Film director Ridley Scott has recalled the death of actor Oliver Reed while making the Oscar winning blockbuster Gladiator. Scott said hard-drinking Reed “just...

United Kingdom

The Watneys Party Seven is making a comeback. The ubiquitous 70s beer was a bland fizzing bitter ridiculed by many. The drink’s insipidness helped...

European Union

On April 9, 2022 Dimash Qudaibergen’s first solo concert in Germany took place in Düsseldorf. The colossal energy and the atmosphere of unity did...