Homeless couple living in tent in Phoenix Park plead for help

‘Do we need another two bodies to be found?’ asks Sarah O’Rourke, sister of Dublin murder victim

A homeless couple have been living in the Phoenix Park for the last week. The couple had been sleeping rough on Dublin streets for weeks before resorting to living in a tent.

 

A homeless couple who say they spent much of the past week living in a tent in the Phoenix Park in Dublin have appealed for help.

Sarah O’Rourke (35) and her partner Jimmy have been in and out of homelessness services for several years.

Ms O’Rourke is a sister of Martin O’Rourke (24) who was shot dead in April outside Noctor’s pub on Sheriff Street in the north inner city. Gardaí believe he was murdered in a case of mistaken identity by a gunman involved in the Hutch/Kinahan feud.

“I’m currently homeless and living in this tent,” Ms O’Rourke told The Irish Times on Monday. “I’m out here in this tent for the past week. Before I had this I was sleeping on paths, sleeping in doorways. I’ve been in Fr [PETER]McVerry’s. They’ve been trying to help us.

“I’m asking for help. I’m begging to get somewhere. I’ve never lived like this in my life.”

Ms O’Rourke, speaking on Wednesday, said her tent had been damaged on Tuesday but she and her partner got a bed for the night at the Merchant’s Quay homeless centre. They had no sleeping arrangements made for Wednesday night.

A spokeswoman for the Dublin Region Homeless Executive said it does not comment on individual cases but it is “acutely aware of the complexities of individual cases and their support needs”.

She added: “We cannot emphasise enough that there are services available for persons who are rough sleeping and our advice would be for individuals to seek assistance and support.”

Turned away

Ms O’Rourke said she has been turned away from homelessness services in the city on several occasions and fears for her life and that of her partner.

“The park rangers have been watching out for us,” she said. “They understand what’s going on. They wouldn’t move us off here because they know we’ve nowhere to go, but we can’t stay here forever.

“It’s wrong what’s going on. I think it’s totally wrong. We’re up here mounting a tent freezing with the cold. We were in [to the homelessness services] on Friday but they had no beds. They told us to ring the free phone. Ring back at half ten. No beds.

“We can’t stay here forever. Do we need another two bodies to be found in Dublin? Do we need that? We are human at the end of the day.”