Saturday 23 November 2019

Call for action as homeless mother-of-two and former chef die in separate incidents

'Jack' Watson was was discovered dead on Suffolk Street this morning
'Jack' Watson was was discovered dead on Suffolk Street this morning

Alan O'Keeffe and Laura Larkin

A homeless man found unconscious on a footpath was pronounced dead in hospital just hours after a mother of two living in homeless accommodation took her own life.

A former chef, known to his friends as 'Jack' Watson, slept rough on the streets.

He was found outside a shop in Suffolk Street in Dublin at 4am yesterday. He was treated at the scene but pronounced dead in hospital.

An investigation has also been launched into the death of a young homeless mother of two, who died by suicide in a hotel in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Gardaí were called to the Leixlip House Hotel after her body was discovered by her partner at 10pm on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Dubliner was staying in the hotel with her two young children.

The premises is currently being used as accommodation for homeless families.

Homeless campaigner Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, has called for the housing crisis to be declared a national emergency in the wake of the two tragedies.

"It's a case of families being put under extreme and immense pressure. We have families being squashed into rooms that are not suitable for them.

"We are looking at people being put into accommodation for anything up to three years."

A garda spokesman said the woman's death was being treated as "a tragedy, not suspicious".

Dublin City Council said Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) was aware of the incident.

"It is particularly poignant in light of the fact that the woman had been offered and had accepted a social house from South Dublin County Council," the spokesperson said.

Local councillor Joe Neville (FG) said he was devastated.

"We need to ask as a society, and as a government, are we doing all we can to help these people?"

The DRHE also expressed its sympathies to the family and friends of the man who was found on Suffolk Street.

"Statutory and state-funded voluntary homeless services had made a number of interventions with him since October 2015. In addition, other services had been engaging with him to access accommodation and relevant supports," a statement said.

It's understood Jack spent time in Australia and had also helped out with cooking at Apollo House when it was being used by the homeless.

The Peter McVerry Trust extended its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the two individuals.

"These tragedies are deeply upsetting," the charity said in a statement.

Irish Independent

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