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Wednesday 27 August 2014

The moment I cheated death in bin lorry drama - Homeless man speaks out about his experience

Conor Feehan

Published 04/03/2014 | 07:56

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Paco Hayes sleeping in a bin
Paco Hayes describes his terrible experience

This is the homeless man who narrowly escaped death after a recycling bin he was sleeping in was tipped into a bin lorry.

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Paco Hayes (45) made the headlines last month when shocked staff from the Greyhound company realised they had dumped Pico into the bin lorry while emptying skips in the Hardwick Street area.

Paco said he regularly sleeps in recycling bins as he believes they can be safer and warmer than the alternative on the street.

"If you can get a bin with shredded paper and cardboard, which is covered, it can be quite warm on a cold night. I don't like sleeping in doorways," Paco told the Herald.

The Bray native said he wanted to reassure the Greyhound staff that he was okay, because he knew that they were "shook-up" over the incident.

Greyhound worker Fintan Reilly, who was working along with his colleagues Jonathan Greene and Daniel McMahon, said Paco would have faced certain death from the compactor machine in the lorry.

"As it goes up, it automatically starts compacting. I just heard a voice screaming 'help'," Mr Reilly explained.

Paco Hayes sleeping in a bin
Paco Hayes describes his terrible experience

He immediately pressed the emergency stop button and alerted his colleagues who contacted the emergency services.

Paco said it was late on Thursday, February 20 when he got into the bin, and he was in a deep sleep.

"I usually wake up early and head off, but I must have been in a very deep sleep because I didn't feel the bin being lifted, and the first I knew about anything was when I landed on my back in the bin lorry," Paco told the Herald.

"I just said 'Hey!' very loudly and the guys stopped the crusher. I had to sit on the shelf of the crushing plate for a while to get my head together, I was completely disorientated and the Greyhound workers were very shook-up too," he explained.

Paco used to work in the sound engineering business but emigrated to Italy before returning home.

"When I got back in 2005 everything had changed and the people I knew had moved on, and I ended up sleeping on the streets."

Paco said he would have second thoughts about using a bin as a refuge.

"I was tempted only a few days ago on one of the horrible wet and windy nights, but I didn't. I couldn't rule it out though," he said.

Paco was surprised that his story made the headlines but said homelessness is a worldwide problem often reported on in the media.

"In France the binmen hit the side of the bin with a long-handled rubber mallet, that would do the job," he said.

Paco said he finds it ironic that so many ghost estate houses are lying idle and being threatened with demolition while there are people on the streets with no shelter.

After Paco's brush with death Michael Buckley, CEO of Greyhound Recycling, called on the main waste management companies to agree safety check protocols on the collection of large bins.

(The Herald)

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