Friday 16 November 2018

Rough sleeper found dead on street in Dublin 'discovered by street outreach workers'

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

The body of a man who had been sleeping rough in an inner-city Dublin park was discovered by street outreach workers early this morning.

The Polish man in his 40s, whose name has not been released pending notification of next of kin, was a client of the Merchant’s Quay drug and homeless services charity, according to its CEO Tony Geoghegan.

The grim discovery was made by the charity’s outreach team around 8am when they went to check on two rough sleepers at nearby St Audoen's Park on Cook Street near Christ Church Cathedral.

"They tried to wake him but he was unresponsive," he said.

Gardai confirmed that they are treating the man's demise as a sudden death.

"Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene. The man was pronounced dead at scene and brought to city morgue where a post mortem will be carried out. A file will be prepared for the Coroner's Court."

A spokeswoman for the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, confirmed that the homeless Polish man had been accessing its ‘medical and homeless services’.

But she could not say whether he had attempted to get shelter from the executive before his death.

Mr Geoghegan, however, said the deceased man was known to sleep rough in St Audoen’s Park.

But he said the man used its food and washing facilities and would have had access to its 24-hour night café – which provides mats for sleepers if needed – if he so desired.

"He wasn’t barred from us. He would have had a place to stay," Mr Geoghegan said.

"But last night was a mild night and when it’s milder, people tend to stay out," he said.

Anthony Flynn, CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless, said the Polish man’s death is the 27th death of rough sleepers in Ireland over the past 16 months.

His death is also part of a disturbing trend in which homeless agencies are frequently seeing Polish nationals who came to Ireland to work during the boom years fall on hard times and are now living on the street, he said.

"There’s a complete lack of services," he said of shelter and other supports for rough sleepers in Dublin.

"Last night, 145 people slept on the streets and that’s only the number of people we know of who engaged with us," he said.

The deceased man is tragically the second homeless Polish national to be found dead on the street within the past fortnight.

Last month, the body of Krzysztof Ciesielski, or ‘Krysto’ as he was known to his friends, from Naklo Nad Notecia in Poland, was found on a park bench at Peter’s Lake in Monaghan town. 

It's understood that Mr Ciesielski, aged in his late 30s, had moved to Monaghan several years ago to work in a local factory but fell on hard times after becoming unemployed over the last number of years.

His death came just eight days after the body of another homeless man, aged in his 20s, was discovered on the grounds of Galway City Hall last month.

The tragic death prompted calls for embattled Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to meet with Galway Mayor Niall McNelis to discuss what he described as an escalating homeless crisis in the city.

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