Appeals for help over weekend incidents

Mon, Dec 19, 2011, 00:00

THE GARDA Síochána Ombudsman Commission has appealed for the public’s assistance in its efforts to identify a man found in a doorway in Dublin city centre who later fell into unconsciousness in a Garda station.

The man remains in hospital and Garda sources said he is critically ill. He was found passed out by a member of the public on the pavement outside the Arlington Hotel on Lord Edward Street in Dublin’s south inner city at 6pm on Friday.

A garda cycling past stopped to investigate and an ambulance was called. The man woke and refused to go in the ambulance. The garda on duty placed him under arrest for public disorder and he was taken to Pearse Street Garda station. He was put into a cell and while he was responsive when checked a number of times, when gardaí went to look in on him just after 10pm he was unresponsive.

The man was taken to St James Hospital by ambulance. Garda authorities notified the commission, which began an investigation. The commission must investigate all cases involving a person who has fallen seriously ill while in Garda custody or who has fallen ill shortly after having had any dealings with gardaí.

A number of sources said the man appeared to be foreign and may be Romanian, though this has not been confirmed. The same sources said the man was possibly homeless and his health problems appeared to be linked to this.

While the investigation is at an early stage, there is no suggestion the man was assaulted or harmed in any way. He is described as being white and is believed to be aged between his mid-40s and early 50s. He is of slight build, with greying hair and has a moustache. The commission has asked for anyone who may be able to identify him to contact them on 1890 600 800.

Meanwhile, PSNI detectives have appealed for public assistance in determining the circumstances behind separate incidents in Northern Ireland at the weekend in which two men died from their injuries.

Colin McLeister (48) from Coleraine, Co Derry, died at the Playhouse entertainment centre in Portrush, Co Antrim, early on Saturday. Police studying the results of a postmortem carried out on the father of three have asked anyone who may have witnessed an altercation to come forward.

Mr McLeister is believed to have fallen down stairs at the complex. Police are trying to establish whether the fall happened as a result of a fight at the venue. A 34-year-old man was arrested and was being questioned about the death yesterday. Det Chief Insp Ian Magee said the investigation was very much in its early stages.

PSNI detectives have also appealed for information about a man who was discovered injured at the back of a shopping centre in Bangor, Co Down, at about 9.30am. He was named later as Ryan Anderson (28), who was married with a young daughter. He was found lying at the rear of the Flagship Centre in Bingham Street and taken to hospital, where he later died of his injuries.