Saturday 25 January 2020

Elderly homeless man 'degraded and mortified' after being urinated on by a group of young men in Dublin

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Stock image
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A HOMELESS man who was sleeping rough in Dublin City was left "mortified" and "degraded" after a group of teenage boys urinated on him.

The homeless man, identified as Thomas (67), was sleeping in the city last Saturday when four teenage boys gathered around him and laughed while one urinated on him.

Julie O’Connor, Founder of Walking in Their Shoes, received a call from her daughter’s friend at around 1:20am on Saturday morning asking her to come in and help the man.

"I tried to contact the Inner City Helping the Homeless but their lines was busy so I went to help the man myself with an emergency bag with warm clothes, wipes, towels and a sleeping bag," Julie told

"He was extremely embarrassed and upset. He refused to let me call the gardai because he was concerned the group of boys would come back for him.

"He felt degraded. He was very sad," she said.

Julie offered to take Thomas to the Merchants Quay Night Cafe where he could shower and change but he was "too embarrassed and ashamed".

"He just wanted me to leave and take my daughter’s friend home because we were all upset," said Julie.

Walking in Their Shoes Founder, Julie O'Connor went out to help the homeless man
Walking in Their Shoes Founder, Julie O'Connor went out to help the homeless man

"All I could do was encourage him to change out of the soiled top and trousers, wash himself down and put on a clean dry change of clothing.

"After he got changed we took him to Burger King and got him something to eat and drink whist still trying to encourage him to let me try and get him a bed for the night but all he would take was a fresh sleeping bag and a pillow assuring us that he would be ok and would go to Merchants Quay tomorrow for a shower.”

Julie said she’s distraught at the thought that "society that feels it's ok to treat a fellow human being in this way".

She said Thomas had been sleeping rough in Dublin City Centre for the past seven months after his wife passed away and he could no longer cope.

"He admitted he turned to the drink to help him cope. He wanted to get away from it all and it could happen to any of us," she said

Julie said that after the incident she encouraged Thomas to make contact with his family who weren’t aware that he was sleeping rough.

"Hopefully he’s going to go back to his family now. Something good came out of this situation but it was still an awful thing to do to someone."

Julie is the founder of Walking in Their Shoes, a homeless charity that go out every Thursday night from 8pm on Dame Street and provide hot food, sandwiches, cakes and warm clothes to the homeless.

"It’s as much about socialising and being part of a community than it is about getting food. It allows them to talk and laugh and feel like they’re a part of the community again."

Julie wanted to contact the gardai about the incident but didn't at Thomas' request.

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