"Within two days I became absolutely invisible" - Oscar winner Neil Jordan on his experience of homelessness

Mr Jordan became homeless in London in the 1970s

"Within two days I became absolutely invisible" - Oscar winner Neil Jordan on his experience of homelessness

Irish Academy Award winning screenwriter and director Neil Jordan donating his archive to the National Library of Ireland. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

More than 120 boxes of material from Neil Jordan's award winning career were donated to the National Library of Ireland this morning.

The records span his illustrious career, but it was on some of the hard times he reflected this morning. 

As the nation collectively seethed over the scandal of families left to sleep in Garda stations, Jordan offered some insight into what it is like to be homeless - a situation he faced in London in the 1970s.

"I just fell through the cracks. And it wasn't due to alcohol or drugs or anything like that" he said. 

"I had some money to get an apartment for a bunch of people who were meant to arrive. They never arrived, the money ran out and I ended up on the street. 

"Within two days I became absolutely invisible. People literally do not see you, they never make eye contact. You also get dirty, filthy. And there's also an aspect of shame to it."

Jordan said that when someone lands in that situation, it can be very hard to reach out for help.

"The solution to it would be to reach out to your family and say 'hey, I'm in trouble here, will you help me?'

"But you're so embarrassed and shamed by the fact that you are on the street that you can't bring yourself to do that. 

"I think that must be part of the cycle of homelessness that people find hard to understand. It's not the whole story obviously but I think it's the aspect that's very hard to tell, the invisibility and the shame of it."

Mr Jordan was asked if he thinks that sense of shame is something that can be changed.

"Of course there's something that can be done about it. The first thing is to look at people. To treat homeless people as if they are human beings and not part of the pavement."

Neil Jordan was speaking as he donated his archive of material to the state. The documents from 'Michael Collins', 'The Crying Game' and 'Breakfast on Pluto' along with other works will be digitised and put on display for the general public in 2019.