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Friday 22 September 2017

Homeless mum and rough sleeper found dead just hours apart

A member of the Gardai at the scene of an incident where a man was found dead on Suffolk Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
A member of the Gardai at the scene of an incident where a man was found dead on Suffolk Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

The housing crisis should be declared a "national emergency" following two tragic deaths, a homelessness charity has said.

Inner City Helping Homeless spoke out following the unrelated deaths of a man on a busy Dublin street, and a young mum-of-two in emergency accommodation in Co Kildare.

The man - a former chef who used various aliases but was known primarily as 'Jack' - was found unconscious on Suffolk Street as he took shelter in a shop doorway in the early hours of yesterday. He was treated at the scene but was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Separately, an investigation has been launched into the death of a young homeless mother-of-two who took her own life in a hotel in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Gardai were called to the Leixlip House Hotel after the woman's body was discovered by her partner at 10pm on Wednesday.

Pressure

The 26-year-old Dubliner and her two young children had been staying at the hotel, which is being used as accommodation for homeless families.

Homeless campaigner Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, called for the housing crisis to be declared a national emergency in the wake of the two tragedies.

"It's a case of families being put under extreme and immense pressure," he said.

"We have families being squashed into rooms that are not suitable for them. We are looking at people being put into accommodation for anything up to three years."

A garda spokesman said the death of the woman in Leixlip was being treated as "a tragedy, not suspicious". Dublin City Council said Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) was aware of the death.

"It is particularly poignant in light of the fact that the woman had been offered and had accepted a social house from South Dublin County Council," a spokesperson said.

The DRHE also expressed its sympathies to the family and friends of Jack.

"Statutory and State-funded voluntary homeless services had made a number of interventions with him since October 2015," the spokesperson added.

Barber Barry Caesar, who knew Jack, said: "He was a lovely guy who was quiet and normal, and just down on his luck."

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