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Friday 28 July 2017

Homeless man dies after night exposed to elements

Louise Hogan, Tom Brady and Allison Bray

FREEZING temperatures are believed to be a factor in the death of a homeless busker whose body was found huddled near a cardboard box -- even though emergency beds were available.

Two friends of the musician -- who was named by his friends as Aladar Turtak (46), originally from Kosice, Slovakia -- could not rouse him at around 9am yesterday at the garden area of flats in Dominick Street in Dublin's north inner city, near the Ilac Shopping Centre.

"I've no doubt the freezing temperatures were a factor in the man's death," Christy Burke, a long-standing councillor in the Dublin City area, said.

"He was found dead this morning most likely from hypothermia. His two friends were very emotional.

Tragic

"The three of them had been sleeping rough in the garden area of Dominick Street."

The family of Mr Turtak, who was separated but had one child, have been informed of his tragic death.

It's understood he was an alcoholic who consumed a cocktail of drinks with two others before falling asleep on cardboard as temperatures plummeted.

A post mortem was due to be carried out last night to determine the cause of death, although gardai said they are not treating it as suspicious.

A spokesperson for the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) last night insisted that there were at least 30 emergency beds available on Monday night, but it is not known if he attempted to get a bed.

A spokesman for the Dublin Simon Community (DSC) said the last time its outreach team was able to make contact with Mr Turtak was on November 21.

However, the DSC said its 31-bed hostel on Harcourt Street was full to capacity on Monday night while other bed providers have been struggling to keep up with demand.

Even though there are some 600 beds available for the homeless through the various homeless agencies and 800 beds available at local B&Bs through local housing authorities, most of the homeless hostels are 98pc full every night, a source told the Irish Independent.

The last count of rough sleepers conducted in November found 87 homeless -- up 45pc from April when 60 rough sleepers were recorded.

"The capacity now just doesn't meet demand," the source said.

Mr Turtak had been attending the meals and wash-service provided by the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin City Centre and was a familiar face there.

Brother Kevin Crowley said: "In the house, you are frozen with the cold -- imagine what it is like outside."

Br Crowley was critical of the removal of a 'Night Bus' service by Dublin City Council that brought people from the streets to accommodation.

The DRHE said there was no longer a need for the 'Night Bus' after an online-bed system to identify accommodation had been put in place and people were allowed access beds for seven nights rather than just one.

Irish Independent

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