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Josef was my fourth friend to die, says pal who lived in public toilets

HOMELESS man Josef Pavelka is the fourth person in his group of friends to die a sad death on the streets.

His best friend has said that having seen so many die from drinking too much alcohol, he does not want to be the fifth.

Speaking outside St Peter and Paul Cathedral in Ennis yesterday, 36-year old Polish man Piotr Baram said: "Today, I am feeling bad, bad, very bad.

"I cry to myself only – not in a public place – about Josef. He is my best friend and he is gone."

He said: "We were together every day from 7am until 10 at night. We never argued. I miss him very much."

Mr Baram said that he wants to see Josef's body "to say goodbye".

The body of Mr Pavelka (52) was found in a laneway behind the local Supermacs outlet on Ennis's O'Connell Street at 11.30pm on Saturday.

Insp Tom Kennedy confirmed yesterday that a post-mortem took place at the Midwestern Regional Hospital in Limerick yesterday morning.

He said: "No final results of the post-mortem will be released pending toxicology results."

The Czech national came to national prominence last month when it emerged in court that both he and Mr Baram were living in public toilets in Ennis.

District Court judge, Judge Patrick Durcan, described the situation as a 'scandal' and said last week that the two had attained 'celebrity status' in Ennis as a result of the attention to their plight.

At the place where Mr Pavelka's body was found on Saturday, friends yesterday left bouquets of flowers with a message on one reading 'Josef. Rest in Peace, We'll Miss You, From Your Friends'.

Mr Baram said yesterday that he would like to get treatment for his alcohol addiction. He said: "If somebody tells me to go to a treatment centre in Limerick, Cork or Galway I will go."

A tearful Mr Baram said: "I know I must stop drinking. I am now drinking less. Drink has now killed four friends of mine in Ennis over the past few years and I don't want to the fifth to die from drinking."

The St Vincent de Paul, in consultation with other agencies, provided the two with emergency accommodation at a tourist hostel in Galway last month and Mr Baram confirmed yesterday that after their return to Ennis, "myself and Josef were drinking much more as people gave us drink and money that we used to buy drink".

 

Deteriorated

At Mr Pavelka's last court hearing last Wednesday, both men's physical appearance had deteriorated since their previous time in court from heavy drinking.

Mr Baram also confirmed that the two each received social welfare payments of €100 each last Friday. He said: "I don't know if there will be any more money from social welfare."

Mr Baram continues to sleep rough around Ennis and did not want to say where he was sleeping last night or tonight in case the local gardai would find out.

He said: "I cannot sleep in the toilet anymore, because the guards check."

hnews@herald.ie


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