Ballymun based poet Pat Tierney talks about addiction, contracting HIV, and the support of his community.

Pat Tierney tells Pat Kenny how he started using drugs and quickly became addicted.  

It was while working in the Wyoming oil fields and using crystal meth intravenously that he contracted HIV.  He himself finds it hard to understand exactly how he just stopped using drugs, as he never experienced any physical withdrawal symptoms.  When he had made his mind up to stop, he just stopped, and that was it.

When I was in a little town called Evanston in Wyoming, which is essentially a cowboy town surrounded by oil rigs...when I basically had enough of that life, I just decided to go away up to Caspar and began working on a ranch up there...and had no desire whatsoever for drugs at that point.

His book ‘The Moon On My Back’, published himself under the label Seven Towers Publishing, is an honest account of his life and experiences.  Tierney also works with young people in Ballymun and set up the Ceannt Tower Rhymers Club, where he teaches children learn to write their own poetry.  

Having decided to tell his community that he was HIV positive, he drew up a newsletter and sent it to all the parents in the Eamonn Ceannt Tower.  He was surprised and touched by their response, 

The day after I delivered the newsletter, several parents came to me, and they were quite upset that I had decided to move away from youth activities, which was a very pleasant surprise, and I received absolutely no negative reactions whatsoever.

Pat Tierney died in January 1996. 

This episode of ‘Kenny Live’ was broadcast on 13 March 1993. The presenter is Pat Kenny.

‘Kenny Live’ was a chat show programme broadcast on Saturday nights and presented by Pat Kenny.  First broadcast on 15 October 1988 it promised viewers "the best in chat, music and entertainment" (RTÉ Guide 22 October 1988).  It ran until May 1999.