herald

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Two homeless men die on streets within the space of 48 hours

Rough sleepers are being encouraged to take advantage of extreme weather facilities. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Rough sleepers are being encouraged to take advantage of extreme weather facilities. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Two homeless men who died on the streets of the capital over a period of 48 hours had both spent time in emergency accommodation before their deaths.

Michael McCann, aged in his 50s, was found in a tent near Ganzaga College in Ranelagh at 1.30pm on Tuesday.

A Lithuanian man in his 30s died in the Mater Hospital on Monday morning after he was taken from Chancery Street, near the Four Courts, on Sunday.

Gardai told the Herald both incidents were being classed as "sudden deaths" and they were awaiting the outcomes of the two post-mortem examinations.

The Dublin Homeless Executive (DHRE) expressed condolences to the family and friends of both men. Referring to Mr McCann, whom it did not name, a statement said he was known to the organisation.

"This man was accessing homeless services since 2010 and was placed in emergency accommodation, including temporary supported accommodation, on a number of occasions," it said.

The executive said outreach teams had engaged with him on many occasions.

Emergency

"Unfortunately, support services were unable to progress this man to a more permanent housing solution after he left his last placement."

He had last been in contact with homeless services seeking emergency accommodation on November 21 and was provided a bed.

The DHRE said the Lithuanian man had also been accessing homeless services since 2013 and he had also been placed in emergency accommodation, including supported accommodation on a number of occasions.

"Outreach teams had engaged with him to access accommodation and relevant supports," the spokesman said.

"Around the time of his passing, the man was in supported emergency accommodation, where the Harm Reduction Team was actively engaging with him."

The DHRE said it was "fully cognisant" the "potential impact" severe weather could have on rough sleepers and "every possible effort was being made to ensure there is enough emergency accommodation provision to ensure that no person is forced to sleep rough".

It said provision had been increased, with extreme weather facilities for the homeless from this week until December 4.

These would remain in place if the cold snap continues. Some 67 extra beds are available, the executive said, along with other communal spaces.

Rough

Independent Dublin City Councillor Christy Burke said the reason some homeless people chose to sleep rough was because they didn't want to live in emergency accommodation.

"First of all, I want to say both of these men were some mother's son and perhaps someone's dad, brother and friend," said Mr Burke, who remembered feeding the Lithuanian man.

"I remember the Lithuanian man being very grateful for the food I gave him when I was volunteering helping the homeless.

"He was a nice man and I remember helping some men up in Ranelagh too, but I never asked too much about them because they want to keep private mostly and we are there to help them, not to judge.

"A lot of the rough sleepers don't want to stay in emergency accommodation because they are trying to get off alcohol or drugs and they feel they have a better chance of doing that on the streets," he added.

"It's important not to judge anyone who is homeless for taking drugs or alcohol because they live such a harsh reality, is it any wonder they turn to something to try to help them get through?"

A garda spokesman said a file was being prepared on the deaths. The DHRE said rough sleepers should call the emergency accommodation freephone on 1800 707 707.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News