The death of James Sherlock, 24, who lost both of his legs to due complications with his heroin addiction, yesterday sparked a call by his solicitor for policies on addicts accessing services to be urgently reviewed.
Mr Sherlock was on bail awaiting sentence before Ennis Circuit Court for setting fire to the Lakes Nursing Home in Killaloe in Aug 2010.
A 95-year old female resident in the room opposite to Mr Sherlock died on the night as residents were being evacuated from the home.
The woman died from natural causes and not from the effects of the fire.
Earlier this year, Judge Gerald Keyes said the State must find accommodation for Mr Sherlock.
However, gardaí confirmed yesterday Mr Sherlock had been living rough at Ennis Golf Club for a number of nights before his body was found by a family member on Thursday. It is believed he may have died from a drug overdose.
He had been previously sleeping rough in the derelict Fairways complex in Ennis, Co Clare.
Mr Sherlock’s solicitor, Tara Godfrey, was involved in attempts to secure accommodation for him at court hearings this year.
On Jul 11, the court was told he was on the housing list “at last” for accommodation in Ennis. The court was told on that date that Mr Sherlock was staying with “concerned individuals”.
Mr Sherlock told the court that no progress was being made on getting accommodation, stating “I’m sick of this”.
Ms Godfrey said yesterday that Mr Sherlock’s personal circumstances when he died “shows how difficult it is for people with addiction problems to access accommodation”.
“The services demand that addicts be clean, but how they can get clean if they are denied access to those services?
“This issue needs to be addressed urgently.”
At a court sitting in April, senior probation officer Eoin Ryan said the State could not find a home for Mr Sherlock as insurance companies would not insure any care homes or hostels that would provide a home for him due to Mr Sherlock’s conviction for arson.
It is the second time that the Sherlock family has been hit by tragedy.
The circumstances around the death of Mr Sherlock’s mother, Martina, in Dec 2008 was the subject of a 2011 High Court settlement between her widower, James Sr, and the HSE.