herald

Thursday 21 November 2019

Yobs set fire to homeless man's tent in city park

Flames can be seen coming out of the top of the tent after it was set ablaze by a gang of youths using a lighter
Flames can be seen coming out of the top of the tent after it was set ablaze by a gang of youths using a lighter

A Dublin homeless charity says reports of a homeless man's tent being set alight by youths are a disgraceful new low.

Classic Hits radio presenter Niall Boylan yesterday tweeted images of a group of youths - including three young girls - apparently putting a lighter to the orange tent.

Flames are seen shooting out from the top of the tent in the next photo.

A caller to Boylan's talk show yesterday said he saw the youths set the tent on fire from his apartment and rang gardai.

The blaze was put out by Dublin City Council workers and the homeless man was not injured.

Dublin Region Homeless Executive spokeswoman Bevin Herbert said its outreach workers were dispatched to Broadstone Park, near the Grand Canal in the north inner city, where the incident is believed to have happened.

The workers will liaise with the victim to ensure his safety and provide him with accommodation, she said.

Officials from the Dublin Fire Brigade were not available for comment last night.

However, the Inner City Helping Homeless charity's chief executive, Anthony Flynn, said the alleged arson attack was not only a serious crime but an appalling new low.

"It's an absolute disgrace that anyone who has to sleep in a tent could be burnt," he said.

While the incident is the first he is aware of in Dublin, Mr Flynn said it was not the first time that the growing number of homeless people had been abused by mindless yobs.

The tent was set ablaze by a gang of youths using a lighter
The tent was set ablaze by a gang of youths using a lighter

"We do hear of individuals urinating on people or kicking them while they are sleeping in their sleeping bags," Mr Flynn said.

Shelter

Sadly the number of homeless people who have resorted to sleeping in tents is growing, he added.

Mr Flynn estimates that between 60 and 70 of the 150 to 160 people who sleep rough in the Dublin area each night are sleeping in tents.

Many of them are now seeking shelter in parks and green areas along the canals and along the Luas lines, he said.

They are doing this to escape the noise and potential violence of sleeping rough or attending hostels, Mr Flynn added.

"We're in a situation now where people are using tents because of safety and drug issues in hostels," he said.

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