Belfast Telegraph

Homeless woman dies in Dublin city hostel

The death occurred on Wednesday in the Phoenix Lodge hostel.

(PA)
(PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

A homeless woman in her 20s has died in a Dublin city hostel.

The death, which is being treated as a personal tragedy, occurred on Wednesday in the Phoenix Lodge hostel, sometimes referred to as Judge Darley’s, which provides 24-hour emergency accommodation for homeless people.

It is understood the next of kin have been informed, however the identity of the young woman is not yet known.

A spokeswoman from The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) said: “On behalf of the Dublin local authorities, we would like to express condolences to the family and friends of the young woman, who tragically passed away yesterday evening.

“The Gardai and DRHE staff were in attendance.”

A staff member at the hostel told PA news agency said they had no comment to make on the incident.

Inner City Helping Homeless chief executive Anthony Flynn says the hostel, which is not run by an NGO – but a private contractor, should be investigated to clarify if staff were trained to supervise vulnerable people, and mandatory inspections should be implemented for homeless accommodation.

“The lack of wrap around support services, in hostels, particularly in private hostels facilities, we’d be calling for training for staff in those facilities as private operators don’t generally have people that are trained in social care,” he said.

“In most facilities, the individuals working will be there as security rather than trained to deal with someone who had such issues.

“The fact is, we’ve issues around people’s dignity, stability, the current system doesn’t take into account that we need long term accommodation for people that are homeless and not one night only beds.

“The staff that are in there are trying their best in difficult circumstances, most don’t have the training that’s required to deal with people that have substance abuse or mental health issues.

“The system is in complete turmoil, it needs an overhaul, our dependency on private operators provide services that we’re looking for, is not adequate in trying to deal with the issues that people have.

“We need  a review of this facility;  Who were the staff who were in that facility yesterday? Had they appropriate training to deal with issues that this girl had?

“I’ve asked for that, and I’ll continue to try and find some better inkling into what happened.

“My thoughts and prayers are obviously with the family.

“The system is just not working, we’re managing the situation instead of trying to eradicate the situation.”

The homeless crisis, currently the worst in the history of the state, has shown no signs of abating in recent days as the country faces a General Election on February 8.

Fine Gael party sources say they are braced for housing to be a major issue on the doorsteps, and in the two days since the election was called, more widely-publicised issues around homelessness have come to the fore.

On Tuesday, a homeless man was left seriously injured following an incident in Dublin city centre.

The man was sleeping in a tent near the Grand Canal when it was removed by an industrial vehicle during works to tidy the canal walkway.

The man was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital where he remains in a serious condition.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was then criticised for allegedly politicising the incident on Wednesday, in which he called on the Fianna Fail lord mayor of Dublin, Paul McAuliffe, to account politically for the incident.

Later that day, video emerged of a voter asking Mr Varadkar what he planned to do about exploitative landlords by a member of the public while on a canvas, in which the Taoiseach could be seen walking away from the young woman as she was speaking.

On Thursday morning, ICHH were called to reports of an elderly woman who had slept in the rain.

Mr Flynn said the woman, who is 67, who suffers from dementia, had been soaked “to the bone” and was transported to hospital.

“She has mental health issues, she was found in a horrid state in a laneway in Dublin 1,” he said.

“We need radical change.”

PA

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