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Dublin: 17°C Saturday 19 June 2021

Tánaiste says homeless deaths 'fill us all with sorrow' and that 'beds were available'

The bodies of two men were found in different areas of Dublin city centre in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Leinster Lane in Dublin city where one of the men was sadly found dead.
Leinster Lane in Dublin city where one of the men was sadly found dead.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said the deaths of two men on Dublin city’s streets are tragedies that “fills us all with sorrow”. 

Speaking in the Dáil today, Varadkar said that a review is being carried out into an increase in the deaths of people accessing homeless services in the city. 

The Tánaiste said there were beds available on the night in question when the two men died and that one of them had a tenancy in long-term support accommodation.

“I was very saddened to hear of the deaths of those two men in recent days. Particularly at Christmas but at any time of year the death of people who are homeless is something that fills us all with sorrow,” he said. 

One of these deaths was of a man who had a tenancy in long-term supported accommodation. The second man was found in a tent in Dublin 2.  The circumstances of his death have not yet been fully established.  These deaths are tragedies for the families involved and we extend our sympathies to those families and to all who knew them. 

Varadkar said that people should “not speculate” as to the causes of deaths of the two men. 

The Tánaiste added that on the night when the men died, Tuesday into Wednesday of this week, “beds were available”:

On the evening concerned, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, DRHE, outreach team worked through the night to bring rough sleepers into emergency accommodation, as it does every night.  Some 31 people came into emergency beds on that night while 32 spare emergency beds were available to homelessness services in Dublin city. No person should die on our streets because of the lack of a bed. 

“There were beds available and there were support workers on the street encouraging people to come in that night. ”

Varadkar was speaking in response to Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin who said there have been “more than 52″ deaths of those sleeping rough or in emergency accomodation in Dublin this year. 

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He also said there have been similar increases in Cork and Galway and that all these deaths “are a tragedy”. 

“The exact causes of the death vary. Sometimes overdose, sometimes suicide, sometimes called hypothermia and in rare cases, murder, but the interaction of homelessness, mental health and addiction dramatically increases the risk of such deaths. The question to be asked is, are we doing enough to reduce this risk,” O Broin said. 

Several homeless charities have Another homelessness charity, Focus Ireland, said it is “deeply concerned and upset” by the number of homeless people who have died in Ireland this year.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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