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16th Dec 2023

Man who lived in abandoned slaughterhouse for years to spend first Christmas in new home

Stephen Porzio

“I don’t know what to say – it’s the most amazing Christmas ever.”

A man who spent years living in an abandoned slaughterhouse in Cork is excited to spend his first Christmas in his new home, according to reports.

Earlier this year, Virgin Media News highlighted the plight of the now 63-year-old John O’Donnell, who had worked in the slaughterhouse for decades.

However, as his personal circumstances grew worse, John wound up sleeping in the building’s canteen at nighttime. Then, when the slaughterhouse shutdown seven years ago, he started sleeping in the space.

In the Virgin Media News report, the conditions in the abandoned factory had been described “appalling” and “very cold” with “rats around the place”.


John has been living in a derelict building that he doesn’t own for almost seven years #VMNews#News #IrishNews #Cork #Homlessness

♬ original sound – VirginMediaNews – VirginMediaNews

Man who lived for years in abandoned Cork slaughterhouse to spend first Christmas in new home

Shocked by John’s plight, campaigner for the elderly Paddy O’Brien called on Cork City Council to find the 63-year-old a place to live.

And in June 2023, John moved into his first private home, a two-bedroom house at Madden’s Buildings in Blackpool in the county.

At the time, he said: “I want to thank everyone that gathered around me for this day.”

#WATCH A man who’s been living in a former slaughterhouse for close to 40 years has been housed by Cork City Council

66-year-old John O’Donnell’s plight was highlighted on Virgin Media News earlier this year

Southern Correspondent @PaulByrne_1 reports ⤵️#VMNews

— Virgin Media News (@VirginMediaNews) June 28, 2023

Now, The Irish Independent reports that John fought back tears of joy as his friends and neighbours, along with community campaigners, organised a special festive celebration to commemorate his first Christmas in his new home.

After being presented with gifts and serenaded with Christmas carols by a school choir, John told the paper: “I don’t know what to say – it’s the most amazing Christmas ever.”