Sunday 24 March 2019

Attack on homeless man in his own tent

Mary Fogarty

A homeless man sleeping rough in Bray was attacked with a wrench in his tent at five in the morning last weekend.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning. Gardaí said that they are investigating.

The man, who said that he was 'nearly murdered' was taken from the scene to St Vincent's Hospital where he received stitches to the nose. The man in his 20s is now out of hospital and temporarily sleeping on a sofa while he makes decisions about his next steps.

He is shaken up, but recovering well from his injuries.

Deputy John Brady said that the attack highlights the need for emergency accommodation, in light of the announcement that a premises has been secured in Bray for rough sleepers for the winter months.

He said that while cold weather is dangerous, rough sleepers are also vulnerable in terms of safety. The cold weather initiative accommodation is expected to open in mid-December and is supervised by the Simon Community. Last year, the scheme ran from January to March without incident.

Bray Area Rough Sleepers Support group (BARSS) recently revealed that between 25 to 30 people are regularly sleeping rough in Bray at night.

A spokesman from Wicklow Homeless Five Loaves said that they have previously referred clients to the facility. In the meantime, with the weather getting progressively worse, they are able to provide sleeping bags, clothing, a hot shower, and hot food and drinks, as well as somewhere warm to stay during the day. 'The weather is only going to get worse from here,' said the spokesman. 'Hopefully the facility could open early and run longer this year.'

Deputy Brady welcomed the news that a premises has been secured, but has also called for arrangements to be made throughout the year.

'This is welcome new and brings an end to many months of hard work to get agreement on the use of the premises,' he said.

'Full credit must go to the housing staff in Wicklow County Council who have worked tirelessly on this issue.'

Rough sleepers will be referred to the premises which will have a team in place to manage it.

'I would also like to pay tribute and thank all the groups across the County working with our homeless people particularly all the team in the Bray Area Rough Sleepers Support group (BARSS) for all the work they do for rough sleepers in the Bray area.

'We need now to put emergency accommodation in place permanently for the homeless and I will continue to work with the council on this as there is a chronic shortage of suitable emergency accommodation in Wicklow.'

Bray People