Man who lived in public toilet in Ennis found dead
Czech national was one of two homeless men whose plight was highlighted recently
Josef Pavelka (left) and Piotr Baram in the public toilet in the market area of Ennis that served as a makeshift home. Photograph: Eamon Ward
Homeless man Josef Pavelka (52) – whose plight received national attention after it emerged he was living in a public toilet – was found dead in a laneway in Ennis at the weekend.
Yesterday, his friend Polish national Piotr Baram (35) mourned his friend’s loss. He said: “I am very sad. I have cried all night. I have lost my best friend.”
Senior Garda Insp Tom Kennedy expressed his sadness at the passing of Mr Pavelka who came to Ireland six years ago to work in construction.
Insp Kennedy knew Mr Pavelka from his regular appearances at Ennis District Court for being drunk in public. “He was a quiet and inoffensive man.”
The discovery of the Czech national’s body at 11.30pm on Saturday by a passer-by came only three days after Judge Patrick Durcan said at Ennis District Court that Mr Pavelka had attained “celebrity status”.
The plight of Mr Pavelka and Mr Baram received wide attention after Judge Durcan described the fact they were sleeping in public toilets as “a scandal” last month.
Insp Kennedy said, “Gardaí are satisfied that there is nothing suspicious around the circumstances of Mr Pavelka’s death.”
He said one of the theories gardaí are working on is that Mr Pavelka may have choked to death as he used to rummage for discarded food in a laneway adjacent to a local fast-food restaurant.
“Obviously, his overall health was poor due to his chronic addiction to alcohol.”
Insp Kennedy said Mr Pavelka’s consumption of alcohol had worsened since his return from Galway to Ennis last week.
In the aftermath of Mr Pavelka’s court appearance at the district court last month, the St Vincent de Paul with other agencies sourced emergency accommodation at a tourist hostel in Galway.
Insp Kennedy said: “People were more aware of Josef’s plight and were much more friendly towards him, giving him money but that only increased massively his resources for drinking and that was not good for him.”
Insp Kennedy said that gardaí are liaising with authorities in the Czech Republic to repatriate Mr Pavelka’s body.
“Josef had given his family the impression that he was getting on well in Ireland.”