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'I don't have heart for it' - tragic homeless man told of fear before death

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Gary Dineen spoke out on homelessness to Cork’s 96FM

Gary Dineen spoke out on homelessness to Cork’s 96FM

Gary Dineen spoke out on homelessness to Cork’s 96FM

A homeless man found dead near a Cork city centre car park had warned in a radio interview just a few weeks ago that he felt forgotten on Irish streets with few caring about the plight of the homeless in modern Ireland.

The body of Gary Dineen (35) was found near the Merchant's Quay Shopping Centre car park on Wednesday - just weeks after he warned he did not know how much longer he could endure life on Irish streets. A second homeless man was found dead in the city on Thursday.

Gardaí are keeping an open mind about the circumstances of Mr Dineen's death, though there was no indication of foul play and his injuries appear consistent with a fall.

Last month, Mr Dineen spoke on Cork's 96FM about the terrible plight facing the homeless.

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He explained that he became homeless after having to move out of his home because the landlord was selling the property.

Mr Dineen was then left devastated by the tragic death of his partner.

"I have been homeless a few times over the years but I have always got back on my feet and got a place again," he told 96FM.

"I am homeless now for about two and a half years."

He said his partner had been a rock of support -and he was left devastated by her death.

"It was unconditional love. I loved her and she loved me.

"When the landlord was selling the house she went to stay with people and I came to Cork as homeless. That broke our relationship then. We were talking about getting back together. She wasn't in the best place.

"My world since then has just crumbled down. I feel like with the homeless that nobody cares about anyone. There was another [homeless] fellow pulled out of the river [recently] who I knew very well. I knew him for 13 years."

Mr Dineen lost his mother when he was very young and it had a traumatic impact on him.

"The amount of stuff that goes on around the place makes you worse and you are battling your own demons," he said.

"Since her death [partner] I have been in hospital twice. I relapsed. I was clean until she died." He said despite stalwart support for the homeless from Cork Simon and Cork Penny Dinners, the pandemic has hit homeless people very hard.

Mr Dineen said he did not know how he would cope without the support of his sister.

"She has been there for me for everything.

"But the whole place [Cork] was empty [during the pandemic] and it was full of homeless people. Everything was closed.

"There were empty hotels right behind me. Empty hostels everywhere.

"There are people out on the streets for the whole virus."

Mr Dineen said he did not know how much longer he could endure life on the streets.

"I don't have the heart or the strength for it [being homeless]anymore. It is hard, very hard."