A rough sleeper who died shortly after slipping into an unresponsive state on a Dublin street was robbed before the emergency services arrived.
The deceased, an Eastern European man, was a drug user and gardaí believe his death arose from an overdose of a drug, believed to be heroin.
As the man in his late 30s lay dying in the city centre on Sunday morning a quantity of drugs was taken from him by other drug users. Sources familiar with the incident described it as “desperate”.
They said it appeared other drug users who were close by may not have realised the man was dying. One added that they likely wanted to secure the drugs before gardaí or paramedics arrived.
The man overdosed on Foster Place, College Green, Dublin 2, just before 7am. He was in the company of other people who were sleeping rough at the time.
After taking a quantity of drugs he fell into an unresponsive state and the alarm was raised.
“Gardaí are investigating the sudden death of a man who passed away in St James Hospital at 8am this morning,” a Garda statement said.
“Gardaí were alerted to the incident by passing pedestrians who observed the man unconscious at Foster Place at approximately 7am. He was removed to St James’s Hospital where he passed away.
“A postmortem will be conducted which will determine the course of the investigation.”
The area where the man died is covered by CCTV and gardaí were in the process of gathering up the footage to determine exactly what happened just before the emergency services arrived.
Cllr Anthony Flynn, chief executive of the Inner City Helping Homeless charity, described the man's death as "tragic". He said there would be more deaths on the streets during the winter if the Government did not take direct action on homelessness immediately,
“This is yet another unacceptable loss of life within a broken service. The system is continuing to fail our most vulnerable in society,” Mr Flynn said.
“We have a homelessness epidemic with on average 160 people sleeping rough every night, resulting in deaths in our streets. This can’t become normal or acceptable.”