Tributes have been paid to a 69-year-old man who died while sleeping on the streets of Limerick.
The man, who has been named locally as Ignatsi or Iggy, was originally from Poland and was believed to be homeless. His body was found on Limerick Lane, off Catherine St, last Friday morning.
The Embassy of the Republic of Poland confirmed that they had been notified of his death.
“With assistance of Polish authorities, we managed to find his family in Poland and inform them about this sad situation. The decision about repatriation has to be taken by his family,” Grzegorz Sala, the Polish Consul to Ireland confirmed.
Pauline Casey dedicates most of her free time to helping the homeless of Limerick after the death of her sister, Louise 'BuBu' Casey, who died in 2016 while taking shelter in a stairwell at the bottom of an apartment, which is less than 200 metres from where Iggy was found.
She was speaking to Iggy the night he died.
“We were building up a friendship with him. We were speaking to him that night, and I remember, the temperatures were really, really bad,” explained Ms Casey.
“He was very kind and very shy. He wouldn’t come over to talk to you much. He would avoid the crowds,” Ms Casey added.
Sarah Beasley, an Aontú activist, described Iggy as a quiet gentleman and said her party would help raise the funds for repatriation, should it be needed. “No one wants to see someone they love stranded that far away from home,” she added.
A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council confirmed that there were beds available on the night the man died, as well as the weeks leading up to his death. It is understood the man was availing of homeless services throughout 2020.
However, it is not clear if he had been using any homeless services in recent weeks.
Una Burns, head of policy and communications at Novas homeless supports service, also confirmed there were vacancies at their facility on the night the man passed.
“It is such a tragedy. He died on the street on such a cold night and it is the worst kind of news that a family could receive. It is an indication of how vulnerable, homeless people are particularly during the winter months,” explained Ms Burns.
A garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí are investigating all the circumstances following the discovery of a body of a male on Limerick Lane shortly before 8am, Friday 22.”
The man's body was removed to University Hospital Limerick for a post mortem.