Homeless man killed in Cork had been offered apartment, says Taoiseach

Fianna Fáil leader criticises Leo Varadkar for giving ‘personal details’ about Timothy Hourihane

Timmy Hourihane, who was killed in Cork early on Sunday.

Timmy Hourihane, who was killed in Cork early on Sunday.

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Cork man beaten to death at the weekend had been provided with an apartment and support from charities and addiction services.

He defended the Government’s efforts to deal with homelessness but acknowledged that they were struggling to deal with the challenge it imposed.

And he appealed for anyone with information about the death of Timothy Hourihane (53) to contact gardaí, which he said was vital.

But Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin criticised the Taoiseach for giving personal details about Mr Hourihane who was found severely beaten with head injuries close to his burning tent in the city.

The alarm was raised and emergency services called when a tent was discovered in flames on Sunday night. More than 20 homeless people were living in tents in the area.

Mr Varadkar told Mr Martin that a number of services had been offered to Mr Hourihane including addiction services and support from charities. He was also “provided with an apartment, all funded by the Government”.

He added that “this does highlight how complex the problem of homelessness is and how hard it can be to help people”.

But when Mr Martin said it was not appropriate for the Taoiseach to cite personal information in the Dáil, the Taoiseach told him “I didn’t delve into any personal situation”.

Mr Martin said however that the Taoiseach was wrong in the emphasis of his reply.

But Mr Varadkar told him “the only person who’s responsible for this is the person who killed that poor man.

“And I strongly encourage anyone who has information about this, to provide that information to gardaí so they can carry out their work and bring the person who did this to this poor man, to justice,” he said.

He acknowledged that the Government was struggling with homelessness but he said “we’re increasing funding for homelessness supports and for the homeless as agencies.

“We’ve been ramping up the building of social housing year on year on year.”

Mr Varadkar said that at this stage more than 10,000 homes were built this year for people on the housing list and 11,000 would be built next year.