The body of homeless man, Josef Pavelka — whose plight received national attention after it emerged he was living in a public toilet — was found in a laneway in Ennis at the weekend.
His friend and homeless companion, Piotr Baram, 35, said he has lost his best friend. “I am very sad. I have cried all night. I have lost my best friend.”
The discovery of the Czech national’s body at 11.30pm by a passer-by on Saturday night came only three days after Judge Patrick Durcan said at Ennis District Court that Mr Pavelka had attained “celebrity status” in Ennis.
The plight of homeless alcoholics Mr Pavelka and his Polish friend, Mr Baram, received wide attention after Judge Durcan described the revelation that they were sleeping in public toilets as “a scandal” last month.
Mr Baram was not with Mr Pavelka when he died. Mr Baram said he continues to live rough in Ennis and could not say where Mr Pavelka slept at night.
Senior garda Insp Tom Kennedy expressed his sadness at the passing of 52-year-old Mr Pavelka, who came to Ireland six years ago to work in the construction industry.
Insp Kennedy knew Mr Pavelka from his appearances at Ennis District Court for being drunk in public.
“It is very sad and I’m sure the people of Ennis will be very sad as Josef was very familiar to everyone. He was a quiet and inoffensive man.
“Gardaí are satisfied that there is nothing suspicious around the circumstances of Mr Pavelka’s death.”
Insp Kennedy said one of the theories gardaí are working on is Mr Pavelka may have choked to death on food as he rummaged for discarded food in the laneway that lies adjacent to the Supermacs restaurant.
“Obviously, his overall health was poor due to his chronic addiction to alcohol.”
Insp Kennedy said Mr Pavelka’s drinking had worsened since his return from Galway to Ennis last week — in the aftermath of Mr Pavelka’s court appearance at the District Court last month, the St Vincent de Paul with other agencies sourced emergency accommodation at a tourist hostel in Galway.
A postmortem will be carried out to determine the exact cause of death.
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