Two men who died in Grand Canal in Dublin were known to homeless services

Both men aged in their 40s were pronounced dead at the scene

A Garda cordon at the Charlemont Luas bridge on the Grand Canal, where two men were found dead. Photograph: Sam Boal/Collins

A Garda investigation is continuing into the deaths of two men who were found in the Grand Canal near Dublin city centre over the weekend.

The men, aged in their 40s, were known to homeless services in the city and are understood to have been sleeping in tents along the canal bank at Grand Parade, close to Charlemont bridge and Luas stop.

Emergency services responded to reports of a body in the canal at 8.15am on Saturday. However, two bodies were recovered a short time later and both men were pronounced dead at the scene.

A Garda cordon was put in place at the scene and was lifted late on Saturday night. The men’s bodies were removed from the scene several hours after being discovered and brought to the city morgue, where postmortems are to be carried out.


The men, who were Irish, have been identified by gardaí and were known to each other. They had sleeping in two tents close to where their bodies were recovered from the canal, which is opposite a makeshift camp where international protection applicants have been sleeping.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) is working with gardaí to establish the circumstances surrounding the men’s’ deaths. The executive confirmed on Sunday that the two men had engaged with its services.

“The DRHE has been in contact with An Garda Síochána and we can confirm both were known to homeless services. (We) would like to offer sympathies to the families and friends of the people who tragically passed away at the Grand Canal,” a spokesperson said.

The executive said there is sufficient emergency accommodation in Dublin at present and that they encourage anyone in need of accommodation to contact their local authority. “We encourage members of the public to download the Rough Sleeper Alert app to assist teams in supporting people most at risk,” the spokesperson said.

Keira Gill, director of the homeless outreach service A Lending Hand, said Government services geared towards dealing with those sleeping rough need to “work together” to deal with the “worsening situation of people living in tents”.

“Our thoughts are with the two men who lost their lives over the weekend and their families. We fear that more rough sleepers will lose their lives on the Capital’s and country’s streets,” she said. “The services dealing with homeless charities and organisations are doing their best but they do not have enough financial resources when you see that thousands of people are now looking for help.”

She said the vast majority of those who sleep rough are doing so because they “do not feel safe in homeless hostels”.

A Lending Hand, which is awaiting charitable status, regularly collaborates with Tiglin based at the Lighthouse, another homelessness service.

“We work out of the Lighthouse every two weeks and we ran out of food such were the numbers who turned up – this never happened before,” Ms Gill said. “The Government needs to sit down with organisations such as ours and all others working with the homeless and hammer out a way of dealing and managing the massive problem.”

Labour leader Ivana Bacik, a local TD in Dublin Bay South, said her “thoughts and sympathies” were with all those affected by the tragedy.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent