Updated at 3.40pm
HOMELESSNESS CAMPAIGNERS HAVE described as tragic the death of a homeless man who was sleeping rough in Dublin city centre.
Gardaí are investigating the sudden death of the man who was discovered unconscious on a footpath in the city in the early hours of this morning.
The man – aged in his 50s – was found outside the Superdry retail store on Suffolk Street at around 4am this morning.
TheJournal.ie has confirmed that the man had been homeless and had a record of sleeping rough or in one-night hostels in the city for the past 18 months.
He had engaged with homelessness outreach services on multiple occasions in the past, including last night at about midnight.
The man was treated at the scene before being taken by ambulance to St James’s Hospital in Dublin where he was pronounced dead.
Gardaí do not suspect there was any foul play in the man’s death at this point.
Pictures from this morning show a sleeping bag and rucksack cordoned off behind garda tape near where the body was discovered.
Commenting on the man’s death, longtime homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry told TheJournal.ie that it was a tragedy.
“It’s tragic that it happens on the street where there’s nobody there to check on them, call an ambulance or even give them comfort in their dying,” he said.
Fr McVerry said that he did not know the man personally, but that the fact that any person should have their life cut short as a result of being homeless was wrong.
“Your life should not be cut short just because you don’t have somewhere to live,” he said.
It is just a disgrace that we have homeless people in this country.
Fr McVerry said that he had never known the homelessness situation in Ireland to be so bad and that government action was urgently needed to address the issue.
Anthony Flynn, director of community organisation Inner City Helping Homeless, said that the death was preventable and called on more action from government.
“Unless someone rolls up their sleeves and gets something done there will be more deaths on the streets in the next few months,” said Flynn.
This death was preventable.
ICHH outreach volunteers interacted with the man at midnight last night in the area, Flynn said.
He said that ICHH teams have recorded large increases in the number of rough sleepers in the city in recent weeks.
He called for more beds for homeless people to be opened in the city as a matter of urgency.
“It’s high time now that the minister takes emergency measures to address this crisis,” Flynn said.
The coroner has been notified of the man’s death and a post-mortem examination is due to be carried out.
The latest official count of rough sleepers in Dublin took place in April and found 138 people sleeping on the streets of the city.
In a statement the DRHE – which manages homelessness services across the four Dublin local authorities – express condolences with the man’s family.
“Statutory and state-funded voluntary homeless services had made a number of interventions with him since October 2015. In addition, other services had been engaging with him to access accommodation and relevant supports,” a spokesperson said.
With reporting from Hayley Halpin