Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Man lies supine on scenic Northern Ireland walkway but how many people stop to help?

By Nevin Farrell

Published 20/04/2015

Graham Warke’s photograph of an unidentified homeless man, lying unconscious beside the River Foyle. The image has become a talking point after being posted on Facebook
Graham Warke’s photograph of an unidentified homeless man, lying unconscious beside the River Foyle. The image has become a talking point after being posted on Facebook

A picture of a homeless man lying unconscious on a city path has sparked debate after the photographer said many potential 'Good Samaritans' had simply walked on by.

Youth worker Graham Warke captured the image of the man lying close to the River Foyle in Londonderry with the Peace Bridge in the background and posted it on Facebook - where it quickly became a talking point.

Mr Warke said: "l stopped to get a picture of the city for a project l am doing and this is what l came across - a street drinker lying completely out of it with cuts all over his face.

"The thing that annoyed me was the amount of people that just walked past him without checking to see if he was OK."

Mr Warke said he was glad that staff at the Damien House hostel in Derry were now caring after the man. A spokeswoman for Damien House - which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary with a relaunch - declined to comment.

It now has 12 crisis accommodation units for vulnerable people suffering from homelessness or addiction. Mr Warke said the incident showed how Derry needed more support for drugs and alcohol detox facilities.

The man, described as a chronic alcoholic who has not been identified publicly, was attended to by a night support service and a source said last night he was now "safe".

Gary Middleton, a DUP Foyle MLA, said: "This photo has stirred up a debate and the fact is there are still people who are homeless and people suffering at the hands of alcohol. It is sad to see that people have, for whatever reason, passed the gentleman while he was still lying on the street. At the same time I'm not aware of the individual circumstances, I wasn't there myself at the time.

"But I would like to think that the overwhelming majority of people in this city would have a caring nature and would go to the help and support of somebody like that. Thankfully, Graham did make contact with the relevant people and I understand the gentleman is now in safe care."

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph