Josef ‘a legend of a man’

A priest told mourners for the late homeless man Josef Pavelka last night it is not a time to be angry, but a time to remember “a real legend of a man we all knew”.

Yesterday evening, more than 100 people crammed into Thompsons’s Lane in Ennis, Co Clare, where Mr Pavelka’s body was found on Saturday, for a candle- lit vigil.

Fr Ger Fitzgerald described the Czech national as “a wonderful man and a gentle and a loving man”.

Last month, the plight of Mr Pavelka garnered national attention when Judge Patrick Durcan described him living in a public toilet as “a scandal”.

Fr Fitzgerald, a friend of Mr Pavelka’s, said he had “left his mark on our hearts and on our lives”.

He said: “If Josef was here now, he would absolutely love it. He would go around to every one of us and ask ‘€2? €1?’, Josef you have all the euros you need now.”

He added: “So to you Josef, I say we will miss you, we love you, we will always hold you in our hearts — and here you are — my final euro.”

Fr Fitzgerald placed the coin on a small shrine.

The three steps were covered in floral bouquets, candles, a couple of cans of cider, and some euro coins. The Czech flag hung from the door.

Mr Pavelka’s best friend, Polish man, Piotr Baram said: “I want to say something about my best friend. He has died, but not for me — only in body. He will still be alive for me in my heart.”

Among those present at the solemn vigil was retired district court judge, Joseph Mangan, who knew the two men from their appearances in court.

Clare’s mayor, Cllr Pat Daly, was also present.

Today, Mr Baram will travel to Co Cork where he will check in to a treatment centre in a bid to overcome his alcohol addiction. Yesterday he admitted: “I’m scared”.

“If it was Limerick prison I was going to, I would not care, but going to the treatment centre, it is different. I don’t know what it will be like.

“I want to live to be 90 or 100. I do not want to die aged 52. I am sick of drink. I want to stop the drink. I am only 35 years old.”

Yesterday, Mr Baram travelled to the morgue at the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Limerick for an emotional goodbye to Mr Pavelka.

Contact has been made with a daughter and sister of Mr Pavelka in relation to the repatriation of his remains.

Supt Derek Smart, of Ennis Garda Station, said gardaí were waiting to hear from the Czech embassy on the wishes of the family.


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