Thursday 22 August 2019

'I just remember a flash coming towards me' - Hooded thug tried to set fire to couple sleeping on street

CCTV images show thug lighting and tossing a burning object
CCTV images show thug lighting and tossing a burning object

Ken Foy and Conor Feehan

These shocking CCTV images show the moment a young thug tries to torch a homeless couple as they sleep on the street in the north inner city.

The youth, wearing a white hoodie, is seen walking up Foley Street in the north inner city and stopping to set light to an object the couple feared was a Halloween banger.

The footage shows him running up to where the homeless couple are lying and tossing the blazing item at them before the cowardly thug flees around the corner.

The homeless woman wakes up and acts quickly, knocking the fireball into the street where it continued to burn.

The terrified victims, who did not want to be named, told the Herald of their shock that someone would try to set fire to them on the street as they slept.

"I just remember seeing a flash coming towards me and then something hit me in the face and bounced on to my jacket, and then I could see something burning beside me so I swept it out on to the street with my hand," said the homeless woman.

The couple, who are homeless, in a doorway on Foley Street
The couple, who are homeless, in a doorway on Foley Street

"I thought it was a banger and I was waiting for it to go off, but then it didn't and I looked again and saw it was a firelighter," she added.

The sickening incident happened on Monday night.

The couple said it is the worst thing that ever happened to them on the streets.

It took place just a day after three vehicles were set alight and an attempt was made to firebomb a fourth on nearby Railway Street in the space of six hours.

"We started sleeping here a few weeks ago because in the last door we slept in somebody tried to rob us, so we didn't feel safe," the woman explained.

"Then we moved around here and most of the neighbours are nice and bring us food and clothes, but we've had bottles and stones thrown at us too as we sleep.


"You never sleep well on the streets, between the cold and the worry. I wake up around 20 times a night."

The couple say they got engaged a year ago and are hoping someday to get a place together.

They said the current homeless crisis is "worse than last year when so many promises were made after the death of Jonathan Corrie".

Homeless man Mr Corrie died in a doorway yards from Leinster House last December, leading to government promises to solve the crisis of people sleeping on the streets.

"There's a freephone line you ring to get a bed, and you try at 4.30 in the afternoon and you can't get through. Then you keep trying and when you get through you're told you're number 50 in the queue," the woman said.

"Then you try at 10.30 that night and you're told to go to a shelter to collect a sleeping bag, because there are no spaces anywhere."

Her partner told the Herald he met Taoiseach Enda Kenny last year.

"He made promises but things are worse. It's disgusting," he said.


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