Sunday 26 January 2020

Homeless man left seriously injured as his tent is picked up by lorry in clean-up drive

Multiple investigations after witnesses hear screaming and alert workmen

Probe: Gardaí at the scene where a homeless man was hurt alongside the Grand Canal in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Probe: Gardaí at the scene where a homeless man was hurt alongside the Grand Canal in Dublin city centre. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Amy Molloy and Ken Foy

Multiple investigations have begun after a homeless man suffered life-changing injuries when the tent in which he was sleeping was removed by an industrial vehicle during a clean-up operation in Dublin.

It is understood the tent was lifted by a lorry with a claw at the Wilton Terrace and Leeson Street junction alongside the Grand Canal on Tuesday afternoon.

Witnesses heard screaming and alerted the workmen who were unaware a man was in the tent.

The man, who is in his 30s, was yesterday moved to intensive care in St Vincent's University Hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

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It is believed the man may have been paralysed in his left leg, a senior source said last night.

The incident happened when Waterways Ireland, the body responsible for maintenance along the canal, was removing tents in the area.

Inner City Helping Homeless chief executive Anthony Flynn demanded a full investigation into the incident and said: "Answers need to be provided."

"Somebody's life could have been taken. Eviction notices were being issued to people living in tents along the canal, which is absolutely ludicrous. Appropriate checks clearly weren't put in place to make sure someone wasn't in the tent."

The man was taken to hospital and underwent emergency surgery.

In a statement, Dublin City Council said Waterways Ireland had been removing tents placed in a "precarious and dangerous location".

"The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive is currently liaising with the hospital and every support is being provided," a spokesperson said.

"Our thoughts are with the man at this time.

"The executive has been engaging with the individual for some time and accommodation remains available to him."

Meanwhile, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said his election poster, which was photographed at the scene, had since been removed.

"I was saddened to hear of the incident by the canal on Tuesday," he said.

"My thoughts are with this poor man as he recovers in hospital. I've demanded a full report into the incident, which is under Garda investigation. My campaign poster, which was located at the scene, has been removed."

Waterways Ireland said it was co-operating fully with the Garda investigation.

"Waterways Ireland and Dublin City Council/Dublin Regional Homeless Executive work in co-operation to remove tents along the canals in Dublin where they have become a public safety hazard," a Waterways spokesperson said.

"Our thoughts are very much with the individual who was injured.

"While the Garda investigation is ongoing, Waterways Ireland is obliged to not comment further."

Waterways Ireland has previously issued notices to homeless people along the canal, warning them to remove tents and personal belongings.

In one notice, seen by the Irish Independent, Waterways said: "You are trespassing on lands which are the property of Waterways Ireland.

"Waterways Ireland calls on you to vacate these lands, together with your tents and personal belongings.

"Unless you vacate the property by the date above, we will request An Garda Síochána to take action on this matter to ensure this property is vacated."

Irish Independent

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