Wednesday 21 February 2018

More will die in winter cold, homeless charity warns

Conor Feehan and Mark O'Regan

A LEADING homeless charity has warned it is bracing itself for more deaths after two men died on a street just yards away from one another within the past year.

The comments come after the death of Brendan 'Sosey' O'Brien (46) in Bray, Co Wicklow.

The Simon Community said there was a growing number of people who desperately needed a roof as the freezing weather set in.

Pat Green, who has been working with the homeless for the past 12 years, said the number of rough sleepers has increased because of the recession hitting so many families.

"The homeless situation is the worst I've ever seen it. There is a fear that if the cold snap continues over Christmas sadly there could be more deaths," he told the Irish Independent.

"This is effectively the first cold snap in 2013, and the terrible weather adds significantly to the deterioration of homeless people's health. It is a significant risk to them and causes severe health problems. There aren't enough beds in the system for everyone and it's a major concern."

The father of two who was found dead yesterday morning in a laneway from apparent hypothermia has been remembered by locals as a polite and quiet man.

They recalled yesterday how he used to sit outside the Post Office on Bray's Quinnsborough Road chatting to passersby.

Although not homeless, Mr O'Brien died after being found in the lane following a night of extreme cold.

Only last December a homeless man in his 30s was found dead in the doorway of a shop after a night of severe cold in the same town.

Paul Doyle (33) was found outside the doorway of a Tesco Express supermarket on the Quinnsborough Road, just yards from where Mr O'Brien used to sit.

A post-mortem examination showed he died from hypothermia.

Mr Doyle, who had suffered from mental health and addiction problems, had been sleeping rough for more than a year.

Irish Independent

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