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Crisis 'beyond repair' as homeless woman found dead at hostel

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Scene of the Grand Canal incident. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Scene of the Grand Canal incident. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Christy Burke. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Christy Burke. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Scene of the Grand Canal incident. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Government has been accused of letting the homelessness crisis "go beyond repair" after a young woman died in emergency accommodation.

Gardai were called to the scene of a sudden death at the Phoenix Lodge hostel on Parkgate Street in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

The woman, who was in her late 20s, died in "tragic circumstances".

A spokeswoman for the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) said yesterday: "On behalf of the Dublin local auth- orities, we would like to express condolences to the family and friends of the young woman, who tragically passed away yesterday evening.

"The gardai and DRHE staff were in attendance."

Tragic

A garda spokesman said a file will be prepared for the Coroner's Court.

Inner City Helping Homeless chief executive Anthony Flynn said: "We cannot continue to compound people's suffering at the most vulnerable time in their life.

"This week alone we have seen this tragic death; a man with life-changing injuries as a result of his tent being removed by an industrial machine as he slept in it; and our case management team assisted a woman in her 60s who was sleeping rough."

Mr Flynn said the elderly woman slept in the rain, was "soaked to the bone" and had to be transported to hospital. She also suffers from dementia.

"She was found in a horrid state in a laneway," he said.

Independent councillor and election candidate Christy Burke said it is time for the Government to "grow a pair" and declare a national emergency as Ireland's housing crisis has "gone beyond repair".

The homeless man who suffered life-changing injuries when the tent in which he was sleeping was removed by an industrial vehicle remains in a critical condition.

Aged in his 30s and from east Africa, he is being treated in intensive care at St Vincent's University Hospital.

Four investigations by gardai, the Health and Safety Authority, Waterways Ireland and the DRHE have been launched.

The incident on the banks of the Grand Canal has continued to generate outrage among housing charities.

Campaigner Fr Peter McVerry slammed the emergency acc- ommodation system, saying homeless people sleep in tents because it is safer than hostels.

"It's true that there are hostel places available, but what's not discussed is the quality of those hostel places," he told RTE Radio 1's Morning Ireland.

"The biggest complaint I get from homeless people is that they wake up in the morning and all the people who are sleeping in the room with them are gone and so are all their belongings.

Appalling

"The second biggest complaint is being assaulted. Many people don't feel safe in those hostels."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has continued to defend his comments on the incident involving the homeless man on the banks of the Grand Canal.

He insisted he had "never sought to make homelessness a party political issue".

Former lord mayor Nial Ring said he was "taken aback" by the Taoiseach's comments, branding them "appalling".