Sunday 18 August 2019

Two men sleeping rough in the capital die within 48 hours

A total of seven people sleeping rough have died in the past 12 weeks

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Conor Feehan and Denise Calnan

A leading homelessness charity has expressed their sadness at the death of two men sleeping rough this week.

Gardaí are investigating the sudden death of a man who was discovered in south Dublin yesterday afternoon.

Emergency services were called to Sandford Close, Ranelagh at approximately 1.30pm.

It's understood the man had been sleeping in a tent near the grounds of Gonzaga College, Ranelagh - which is located in Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy's constituency.

The man was brought to St Vincent's Hospital in a serious condition but later passed away.

Gardaí have confirmed that the matter is under investigation but they are not treating his death as suspicious.

The cause of death of the man has yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, gardaí are also investigating the death of a man in his late thirties.

The man was taken by ambulance from Chancery Street, Dublin 7 at 6pm on Sunday evening.

He was pronounced dead at The Mater Hospital the following morning.

Sources say the man, in his 30s, who died at the Four Courts was from Lithuania and died of a suspected drugs overdose.

Dublin City Councillor Christy Burke told Independent.ie that he used to feed the man found on Chancery Street when working with the ICHH charity.

"He was always polite, and always thankful. He slept between the pillars of the Four Courts with a group of other homeless men," he said.

"We are very saddened by his death, which is now the second one this week," he added.

"Unless the homeless winter initiative is implemented at once there will be more deaths, that's a guarantee," Cllr Burke explained.

The Peter McVerry Trust said they are "deeply saddened by the death of two men sleeping rough in Dublin in the past couple of days".

The charity said there has been an "unprecedented number of deaths involving people sleeping rough since late August".

They report the latest two deaths in Dublin to bring to seven the number of people sleeping rough that have died in the past 12 weeks.

The Trust said they are now calling on the Government to commit to housing every person currently sleeping rough in Dublin by the end of next year.

Earlier this morning, Peter McVerry Trust CEO Pat Doyle told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland that his "heart goes out" to people sleeping rough at the moment.

"It's freezing out there," he said.

"It's never a good time... but now is not a good time to be a rough sleeper, particularly in the cold weather."

Mr Doyle said the winter initiative for the homeless is well underway, and the Peter McVerry Trust are "bringing in beds all the time".

"As soon as the temperatures drop, we bring in extra places.

"In the last few days alone, we've brought in an extra 15 spaces.

"But on the really cold night two or three nights ago, we only used nine out of those 15 places.

"It's difficult to get some people to come in.

"Sometimes the more complex cases won't come in, or some people will come to an apartment but they won't come into a hostel."

Mr Doyle said the gentleman probably picked the area for "shelter, privacy and safety."

"It's off the beaten track," he said.

"People are all the time seeking new places and pushing out into the suburbs."

Last night, a spokesperson for the charity said; "At present we have just over 180 people sleeping rough in Dublin, and while that is a record high, we surely can secure 180 homes out of the 3,800 social houses to be built next year for our most vulnerable citizens."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil he is “deeply saddened” by the deaths.

“On my behalf and the behalf of the entire House I want to express my condolences to the families and friends of those who are affected,” he said.   

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