A homeless man has died after being found unresponsive in a tent in one of the wealthiest parts of Dublin.
The man, who was in his late 50s, was found sleeping rough near Gonzaga College on Sandford Close, Ranelagh, at 12.30pm yesterday. He was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital but was later pronounced dead.
Ranelagh is in Dublin Bay South, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s constituency.
Anthony Flynn, CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) said that, without enough beds and proper services for the homeless people sleeping rough every night, more deaths were likely.
“We have warned all week of the continuous rise in rough sleeper numbers with little or no emergency contingency implementation,” said Mr Flynn.
“The cold weather initiative has already failed. This is an unacceptable situation and a death that could have been avoided with proper access to beds.”
“Our calls continue to fall on deaf ears as promises to deliver 200 beds by December 18th is too late. The winter has hit hard now and these beds are essential.
“We need emergency intervention and an immediate response from the minister and Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.”
Meanwhile, Mr Flynn has also asked that no “heavy-handed tactics” are used to remove rough sleepers from beside the capital’s canals.
A number of homeless people are sleeping in tents at Binns Bridge, over the Royal Canal, which is close to Croke Park on Dublin’s northside.
The rough sleepers told ICHH they had been warned that they would be removed from the site today.
Waterways Ireland manages the land along the Royal and Grand canals on behalf of the State.
“We’ve already reached out to the gardaí to not move in in a heavy-handed manner,” said Mr Flynn. “We don’t want these people to be displaced. We want these homelesspeople to engage with services.”
ICHH engages with rough sleepers in the capital every night and said figures have increased yet again.
“We counted 186 homeless people on the streets on Monday night,” said Mr Flynn. “That’s two more than the figure that was released last week by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.
“Extra beds were announced last week, under the cold weather initiative, but these beds still haven’t been put in place. They’re meant to be in place by December 18.”
Mr Flynn said it was essential that Waterways Ireland, homeless services, and An Garda Síochána work together so that these people are not “just displaced” at a time when there are no beds in the system.
“It’s a case of reaching out to the guards and Waterways Ireland,” said Mr Flynn. “If we move them on all we are doing is displacing them as there are no beds in the system.
“The tents will just pop up somewhere else. It won’t be Waterways Ireland’s problem anymore, it’ll just be somebody else’s.”
Of the 186 people on Dublin streets, he estimated that three-quarters of them are willing to engage with services and access accommodation.
He explained that the 20 or so people who live in tents along the capital’s canals do so for safety reasons.
“People who sleep along the canals do so because they’re not as busy as the main thoroughfares,” said Mr Flynn. “They’re open spaces so people can see them and they feel safer.”
It is understood that there are ongoing discussions between Waterways Ireland, the local community and An Garda Síochána.
A spokeswoman for An Garda Síochána said they were unable to comment on the matter at this time.
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