Increase in rough sleeper beds needed 'to avoid deaths'

Call comes after homeless man in his 40s died in Clondalkin, Dublin

A man in his 40s who had been sleeping rough, in Clondalkin, Dublin died in recent days. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

A man in his 40s who had been sleeping rough, in Clondalkin, Dublin died in recent days. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A “dramatic increase ” in the number of beds for rough for rough sleepers outside Dublin’s city centre is “urgently needed” if deaths are to be avoided this winter, a number of groups have warned.

The calls follow the death of a man in his 40s who had been sleeping rough, in Clondalkin, Dublin in recent days. The body of the man (49) was found at Hazelhatch, Newcastle on Tuesday. The death is not being treated as suspicious and it is thought he may have been dead for a number of days.

Local independent councillor, Francis Timmons, said the man had been known to homeless services and had attended the Tús Nua service in Clondalkin, for meals and to use its washing facilities.

“That is a great service, but it’s only open in the mornings from 9.30 to 11am and for an hour in the afternoon. The danger is there is nowhere for people to at night, nowhere to get an emergency bed. It is a disgrace that a man died out in the open and we haven’t even come into what a lot of people are warning is going to be a very harsh winter.

“There are nine or more people sleeping rough in Clondalkin every night. I have been calling for an emergency hostel for over a year and at this stage it’s needed urgently.”

There is one 16-bed emergency accommodation unit, four kms away in Tallaght, operated by the Peter McVerry Trust. It is full every night, said a spokesman. “If we added further beds we would be filling those every night too. The issue is the majority of emergency beds are in the city centre.”

Cllr Timmons and other members of Homeless Action Clondalkin will begin a soup run in response to growing numbers of rough sleepers.

Sam McGuinness, chief executive of Dublin Simon, said all emergency beds in the city centre were full. “We need to see a dramatic increase in beds or we are going to see more deaths and some really rough stuff this winter.”

A spokeswoman for the Dublin Region Homeless Executive said: “Homeless services throughout the Dublin region are working to full capacity. There is not a sufficient level of emergency accommodation in the SDCC area to meet the current increased level of presenting need.”

A spokeswoman said South Dublin County Council was “examining the possibility of additional homeless accommodation”.