‘Everything possible’ done to help homeless Polish man

Homeless support agency says extensive efforts made to assist Henryk Piotrowski

Gardaí  have appealed for the public’s assistance in tracing the last movements of  Henryk Piotrowski whose body was found in a bin truck at a waste facility in Dublin on Friday.

Gardaí have appealed for the public’s assistance in tracing the last movements of Henryk Piotrowski whose body was found in a bin truck at a waste facility in Dublin on Friday.

Tue, Aug 27, 2013, 06:24


Support groups in Dublin have confirmed that the homeless Polish man who was crushed to death when the refuse bin in which he was sleeping was picked up by a truck last week had recently lost a long-term bed in a hostel which had been set aside for destitute migrants.

However, the Mendicity Institute, a homeless support agency, said yesterday that “everything possible” was done over a long period of time to provide support and accommodation for the man who suffered from chronic alcoholism.

Henryk Piotrowski (43) had been staying at a homeless hostel, Frederick Hall, in Dublin’s north inner-city for at least a year. The hostel was set aside by authorities 18 months ago to provide stable placements for homeless migrants.

However, Dublin City Council’s homeless services ceased operating it as migrant-specific accommodation towards the end of last month. As a result, most migrants at the shelter were advised to seek accommodation on a nightly basis through its “central placement service”.

Trust, a homeless drop-in centre, said this decision reflected how vulnerable people were being let down by the system. Alice Leahy, the co- founder of Trust where Mr Piotrowski had been receiving support for about two years, said it was not good enough that people had to ring each night for a bed, sometimes having to call multiple times to secure a place. However, the Mendicity Institute in south inner-city Dublin yesterday said its staff and other volunteers made extensive efforts over a number of years to engage and support Mr Piotrowski.

‘Chaotic alcoholic’
Charles Richards, manager of the Mendicity Institution, said the man was drinking “suicidally” which made it difficult for him to make any meaningful progress. “We did everything we could to support him: food, medical care, counselling, accommodation options. But he was a chaotic alcoholic and his family life was in disarray,” Mr Richards said.

“He was estranged from family. We contacted his brothers, but he wouldn’t engage with them. We located his daughters on Facebook – he could see they were healthy and surrounded by friends – but Henryk felt there was no way back to his family.”

Mr Richards said he recalled warning Mr Piotrowski about the dangers of the extent of his alcohol use two years ago. “I remember saying to him two years ago, ‘Henryk, you’re going to die if you keep up this kind of heavy drinking’. And he said, ‘Charles, I am already dead’.”

“He was almost permanently drunk . . . there were times when he detoxed. When he was sober, he was miserable, introspective and quiet. Drink was an escape from that.”

When asked if he felt the decision to cease using Frederick Hall as a migrant-specific hostel made Mr Piotrowski more vulnerable, he said it was difficult to say. It may have hastened his death, he said, but added that Mr Piotrowski’s life was spiralling out of control.

Gardaí are now seeking to establish a timeline of Mr Piotrowski’s last movements and ask anyone with information to contact Crumlin Garda station on 01 6666200.

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