Vigil after homeless man’s death

“Homeless people are dropping dead and nothing is being done about it. It’s a disgrace. That man died lonely, cold and shaking in a doorway and I just think it’s horrible. That shouldn’t happen to anybody. Nobody should be left on the streets to die like that.”

These are the words of homelessness campaigner Darren Bradley, speaking after he learned of another homeless death in Dublin at the weekend. The deceased, who was in his 30s and has been named as William, was found in the entrance to Starbucks on Westmoreland St on Sunday.

“I knew him. Not on a personal level, but I knew him because we would have given him food before, and sleeping bags and I’d talk to him,” said Darren.

“He was a nice man, he’d say hello to you, but he didn’t talk very much and he kept himself to himself.”

Darren, whose parents also died on the streets of Dublin after becoming homeless a number of years ago, had been attending a sleep-out outside the Dáil that night and said he came across William’s body the next morning.

“We were having a sleep-out to raise awareness about homelessness and to let the Government know we want them to call a national homelessness emergency.

“Then someone came up to us and said a homeless person had died over on Westmoreland St.

“When Jonathan Corrie died the Government promised it would not happen again yet it is only early October and we have had tragic deaths in the homeless community already.”

The campaigner, who set up the community group March for the Homeless last year, has helped organise a candlelit vigil for tomorrow night at 8pm outside the Dáil to mark William’s death and the death of Alan Murphy, another homeless man in his 30s, who died on Dawson Lane two weeks ago.

Fr Christopher Derwin will say a few words at the vigil which will be followed by a protest.

Meanwhile, young people from Castleknock, Dublin, will form a “sleeping bag human chain” as a show of solidarity with homeless people on October 16.

The members of Localise have in association with the Peter McVerry Trust, raised more than €2,000 to buy sleeping bags for those sleeping rough in Dublin in the run up to Christmas.

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