Calls for emergency intervention following homeless death in Cork

Gardaí are investigating the sudden death of a 40-year-old woman in Cork city

Calls for emergency intervention following homeless death in Cork

Gardaí in Cork earlier today. Image: Paul Byrne via Twitter

Homeless charities have once again urged the Government to declare a national emergency following the third homeless death on Irish streets since last week.

Gardaí are currently investigating the sudden death of a 40-year-old woman in Cork city.

The woman's body was discovered this morning on Lower Oliver Plunkett Street near the Cork Simon Shelter on Anderson's Quay.

It is understood she had been sleeping rough in the city centre.

It comes after two rough sleepers died in Dublin last week.

A man who had been sleeping rough near the Four Courts in the city centre was found unresponsive on Monday 27th November.

On Tuesday 28th November, a man in his late-fifties was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive in a tent in Ranelagh.

National Emergency

This afternoon, the Inner city Helping Homeless (ICHH) charity warned that with snow forecast in the coming days, the Government must take urgent action to avoid further deaths.

Met Éireann issued a snow and ice warning across the country for Thursday and Friday this morning.

In a statement, the charity said:  “Yet another person with a name, a family and a story that died alone on the streets of our country. This cannot be allowed to continue, how many more human beings have to die before the government call a National Homeless Emergency.”

The Government has pledged to bring an additional 200 permanent emergency beds online in Dublin by December 18th – however ICHH has continually warned that the beds should have been introduced far sooner.

Emergency beds

Speaking today, ICHH chief executive Anthony Flynn offered his “sincere condolences” to the family and friends of the woman who died this morning in Cork:

“The death in Cork is an indictment on Government for the failure to introduce emergency beds right up and down the country,” he said.

“We hear a lot of talk at the moment about Dublin and the overflow of rough sleepers in Dublin at the moment but our colleagues in Cork, Galway and Limerick are telling us that the exact same problems are happening right up and down the country.”

He warned that with weather warnings throughout the country and rough sleeping at "peak levels," the Government must take emergency action or, "we will have more deaths on our streets.”



Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing, Eoin Ó Broin also offered his condolences this afternoon.

“We do not have the full details of the case yet; however this is now the eighth person who has died while sleeping rough in Dublin, Drogheda, Cork, and Bray over the past thirteen weeks.

“This now includes three people in one week.

“We do not wish to politicise this latest untimely death. Unfortunately however, it is a political issue.”

Housing First

He insisted the government’s approach to the crisis is not working, adding that it has yet to explain why only 600 of 1,800 turnkey properties offered for sale to the Government have been purchased.

A ‘turnkey property’ is a fully renovated property that can be purchased and immediately rented out.

“These are properties that are ready to move in to and the government is reluctant to acquire them - despite funding not being an issue,” he said.

“More of these units could have been bought to get homeless families and individuals out of emergency accommodation and into permanent secure homes, which is current government policy.

He said he will be raising the issue with the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy once again tomorrow.