Look After Your Friends


90363727B33GF1ICcAAP-k6jcorrieA tribute (top) to Jonathan Corrie (centre) at the doorstep on Molesworth Street, Dublin where he was found dead yesterday. The dedication was read out by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams in the Dáil this afternoon.

78732379e8ef8844e58d8c6ea829e0c2Sophie Pigot,


Sophie Pigot, the woman who discovered John Corrie’s dead body yesterday spoke to Sean O’Rourke on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One this morning.

Sean O’Rourke: “Yesterday morning a man was found on a Dublin city centre street. His name was Jonathan Corrie. He was only 43. The person who found him joins me now. Sophie Pigot, good morning to you. You were on your way to work yesterday, you were making your way through Molesworth Street in Dublin city centre, what made you stop?

Sophie Pigot: “Good morning. Hi Sean. I stopped, just because I saw a man lying in a very uncomfortable looking position and I was stopping to see if he was okay to see if everything was alright, there was no, no particular reason I just, he just looked like he was very uncomfortable, he was lying on his face and it looked like it was quite uncomfortable, there was a lot of weight on his fingers they were kind of bent backwards…”

O’Rourke: “So what did you do, Sophie?”

“I went over and I tried to speak to him, I said ‘Sir’ a few times, ‘Can you hear me, are you okay Sir, are you all right?’ and he didn’t answer so I placed my hands on his back and he just…when I felt his back, it just didn’t, it didn’t feel right, now I didn’t stay for very long, I didn’t have my phone charged so I ran across the road to the Dail because it was the location of… the building was right opposite, it was, you know, the nearest group of people that I knew I could ask to borrow their phone or something so I went in, the receptionist greeted me and addressed me to a guard whom I informed ‘I think there’s a man very injured or sick, there’s something wrong he’s lying on the ground, please can you call an ambulance?’and then the guard was unable to leave his post where he was, I said ‘I don’t know if he’s dead or not’, so I ran back over while they were calling the ambulance… just to check and see how he is so I went back over and did the same thing and then I put my hand on his back again and I felt for his pulse, there was no pulse he was cold, I was quite sure he was dead at that point then.”

O’Rourke: “So what did you do at that stage, Sophie?”

Pigot: “Well, I was just standing there, I didn’t know what to do, all I knew was there was a man, I suppose, open to the world here, a really sad moment, so a couple of people had arrived, then three others, and I ended up then just going across to Buswells, they kindly gave me a tablecloth, like a tablecloth, just to put over him in dignity and I just waited then for the guards to arrive and in the meantime the group of people who I was standing with, they had recognized him and that he had a friend he was often seen with, another homeless man, they went and got him, he arrived and at that stage the guards were there, they took a couple of our details. I just left I didn’t know what else to do I suppose.”

“Sophie, I understand you are in your mid twenties. I’m wondering what training you have had what gave you the confidence to check Johnny Corrie’s pulse?”

Pigot: “Well, I’m a part-time… I’m a avid surfer and when I was younger I used to teach surfing so I’m a trained lifeguard, so I have kept that up you know throughout the years or however, just do retraining every year so I’ve been trained in it, so it was just an immediate reaction my main worry was, you know, I didn’t know if he was alive or not and I didn’t want to be standing there like a useless person waiting for an ambulance if the man wasn’t alive, you know, in the cold it was quite a cold morning yesterday, you know and he was an very uncomfortable position but…”

“It wouldn’t be unusual not by any manner or means Sophie to see a man slumped on steps on that general area but something, there seems to be something about what happened yesterday that made you stop?”

“I don’t know what it was, like people keep asking me why I stopped, but it’s kind of reflective the last few days, why don’t I stop, I pass people crying on the street as in actually crying, and I really don’t know how to answer that question, he just looked like he was very uncomfortable, if he had woken up the least I could do buy him a coffee or something, you know, I would have, that would have been more what I was expecting would happen, be on my way not think twice about it.”

“How long did you remain there at the steps was it until the ambulance came or not?”

“When the guards arrived, it was quite obvious he was covered by the sheet at this stage but they confirmed that he was, it was obvious he had passed away so… I found him at just around ten to eight, I left the scene by half eight.”

“And how were you affected by this afterwards? How did you get on during the rest of the day and say last night?”

Pigot: “During the day I suppose I was just in shock, it’s not really something you bring up in meetings or at work, I’ve class till… I’m in King’s Inns ,over the other side of town until late anyway. I didn’t really process it till last night when I was back in my house, really you just realize how unbelievably lucky you are and I mean, also I got so many…what a response… people are saying to me really kind words but I don’t deserve them I just kind of was there, and it just makes you realise that people do care… I suppose we… it’s become acceptable to act like homeless people are invisible and I think when people look at themselves in the mirror we realise that and that’s what I feel right now.”

“What would you like to come out of this experience and this event?”

Pigot: “I’m like literally a kind of … my own personal view now, I think that we’re a tiny country, this man could be my second cousin, you know, it’s absurd that we as a society have become immune to this situation, so whether that’s, whatever you’re working, whether you’re a politician or whether you work in the civil service, whether you’re working or not working, so, you know that we start to address this situation, like I mean there are fantastic organisations out there like Focus Ireland or the Simon Community and many others and I think the issue needs to get the attention long-term, I think I caught the end of the news there, I think, I don’t know what it was, but I think I heard someone saying, this has to be a long-term approach, we can’t all stand in glass houses and blame other people, I mean it’s a shopping period now for about 23 days, we’re going to spend an enormous amount of money on family, friends probably maybe even a colleague or two and there’ll be these people perfectly visible round us and we seem to feel like they’re invisible, myself included.”

Listen back here


Sophie Pigot is rightly praised for not stepping over Johnny’s corpse and instead getting a policeman at Leinster House to call for an ambulance – but is this what we have come to?
Have we fallen so far as a society that we must make a heroine of someone who does exactly what one is supposed to do when they see another human being in need?
Johnny Corrie died in a Dublin doorway on December 1 2014, but he didn’t die alone.
Every one of us played a part in creating the country in which he could die so publicly, so helplessly, so needlessly. We all stood over him as he passed on.
And none of us did anything, and now it’s too late.

We All Killed Jonathan Corrie (Philip O’Connor, Our Man In Stockholm)

Earlier: Do Look In Anger

Top pic via Gavin Sheridan

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72 thoughts on “Look After Your Friends

  1. bisted

    …no Philip O’Connor…we didn’t all kill Jonathon Corrie and we didn’t all party either…and well done Sophie Pigot.

    1. scottser

      damn right. that sentimental bullsh1t serves no-one any good. phlip o’conner you are a fool if you can’t why and how this man died.

    2. Nigel

      Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, except for blisted and scottser, who abjure partying and sentiment.

      1. Working Joe

        nigel, if you want to hang your hat on this particular hatstand, then go ahead. you will of course, allow me my right to hang mine elsewhere.

  2. Am I Still on this Island.

    No, ‘we’ did not all kill this man. Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, the Greens and Labour killed this man. The poor, the working class and the lower middle class had nothing to do with this man’s death.

    1. Major Thrill

      I agree except in the very abstract sense that “we” voted for FF in large numbers several times even though their policies regarding homelessness were roughly “sod them” (much as FG’s will be again once the media attention to this issue dies down again) because the only people who made it an issue on the canvassing trail were easily dismissed as hippies and crusties.

      1. Am I Still on this Island.

        Never voted FF or FG or Greens in my life. Never would. Tonne of people would never vote for FG, FF or Greens.

        1. scottser

          sorry island but stating that people who voted for a political party were in some way responsible for this man’s death is just as much of a fallacy as saying that we all were responsible. absolute nonsense.

        2. Major Thrill

          Yeah, made a bags of explaining my thinking there. “We” didn’t collectively make an issue of homelessness at any point during the elections even though it was a problem then and it’s a (worse) problem now. I’ve never voted FF/FG/Green either but I didn’t exactly make a big deal out of cuts to homeless services when they came sniffing around every few years.

          That being said I think you’re right – when there *was* outcry about cuts to aid for homelessness it was roundly ignored. When shelters started closing earlier and earlier (and opening later) in the year that was ignored too. (As much by that hand washing prick Boyle as anyone else in govt).

          1. Major Thrill

            Ignored by the government I mean. I recall the successive cuts getting quite a bit of press and public attention.

    2. Lenny Zero

      @Am I Still on this Island. Can you explain to me the difference between lower middle class and middle class, just so i know if i had something to do with this mans death?

      1. Major Thrill

        Lower middle class are working class with posher accents and have the BBC tuned in as the default station on the sky box.

      2. Am I Still on this Island.

        Lower middle class – just below aver. industrial wage. Middle class – substantially above av. indust. wage. Terms used by OECD stat. unit.

        1. zeno

          What if you are just above the average industrial wage but not substantially above the average industrial wage? Would you be upper lower middle class?

          1. Bacchus

            Don’t you go bringing facts into it… you’ll confuse poor Am I Still on this Island even more.

    3. Nigel

      That’s right! The only ones not guilty are those who voted for people whose purity and righteousness have never been sullied by the filthy responsibilities of power! They also serve who stand above it all and sniff derisively.

  3. Alfred E. Neumann

    Every one of us allowed this sickly rhetoric to be used so readily, so weepily, so self-righteously. Philip O’Connor spewed out a meaty guff of it, but he didn’t do it alone. We all stood over it as it was passed on. And none of us did anything, and now it’s too late.

  4. zeno

    I know why don’t we reduce a complex issue with multiple causes to a simple scenario that we can use to beat whatever enemy we have at the moment?

  5. Alfred E. Neumann

    Christ, the whole article is hilariously awful. One of many highlights:

    ‘How many of us have laughed on a night out as we kicked their paper cups, telling them to “get a fuckin’ job” instead?’

    Well, I’m guessing that’s almost nobody. Philip needs to get new friends.

    1. Starina

      What kind of awful person would kick a homeless person’s cup?! jeepers! Sounds like Philip and his mates need ASBOs.

      1. ReproBertie

        Everyone of us played a part in creating a country where Philip and his friends can kick cardboard cups away from the homeless.


      2. LucyLoo

        Quite a lot – I stopped a guy from weeing on two (sleeping) homeless people on Grafton Street on Saturday night. I couldn’t believe it when I saw what he was about to do – with his mate giggling as if this was the funniest thing ever. They were both in their thirties, mind. I told your man to stop and he told me to eff off. So I flagging down a squad car and asked the guards to move them on.
        So, people do abuse homeless people. But some of us do stand up to them.

    2. Lilly

      I agree, I’ve never known anyone who’d do this. He needs to get his head out of American Psycho.

  6. dhaughton99

    Why the pic of Sophie? Same with the Indo? If it was Joe Fugly, would his pic be taken from his Facebook and shown.

  7. PowderMonkey

    Homeless people dieing on the streets is a fact of life in every modern city. Why judge Dublin so harshly?
    Frankly, the response to the tragedy has been hysterical. No matter how caring a society aspires to be, there will always be people on the margins of society. Fact.
    The high moral tone of contributors to this thread is nauseating. I assume you will all be pounding the pavement for Christy Bourke come the next election?

    1. Kieran NYC

      If the government hadn’t bungled Irish Water so thoroughly, I doubt there’d be half the coverage.

      This man’s death isn’t any more tragic because it took place near Leinster House with a government in trouble, and it wouldn’t be any less tragic if the economy was fine and people were happy.

  8. Sippy

    If his “loving family” wont house him why should taxpayers? Genuine people who through no fault of their own find themselves needing emergency accommodation until they get sorted i do believe there should be something in place. Those who choose to buy drink and drugs instead of food and hostels cannot be helped. If you hand them the keys to a flat your merely enabling them. There are addicton programmes out there they can freely avail of. To all you do-gooders, i wonder your reaction if a group of homeless people were put next door to you what your reaction would be…

    1. Mick Flavin

      I’m always interested in the mindset of people who use the insult “do-gooder”.

      You’re lucky that human frailty has never touched your life.

  9. Starina

    No, no, no, we didn’t all kill him. Fupp your celtic tiger “we all partied too hard” sh*te. Leinster House can have this one, the self-centred, money-squandering, jobs-for-the-boys muppets.

  10. Lilly

    Firstly, I would hold this man’s family responsible. So much hidden damage is done within the sanctity of the family, often behind a veil of secrecy and/or religious piety. RIP.

    1. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

      Try to resist the urge to finger point at all. Seeing as you know fupp all about this person’s situation.

      1. Lilly

        I may know nothing about this man’s situation but this much I do know: no one who is loved and nurtured as a child dies as a homeless addict on the street.

          1. Lilly

            I’ve just read he was adopted at 10 months. You’ll find whatever happened in those first 10 months shaped his life.

          2. The Lady Vanishes

            Or after.

            Family, acquaintances, teachers, priests.

            No one knows what goes on in another person’s life no matter what it looks like to the outside.

            A significantly high percentage of people living on the streets have been victims of serious childhood trauma. Not all people living on the streets are addicts, and most addicts aren’t homeless, but the same applies to them generally.

          3. Lilly

            @ The Lady – totally agree.
            @ Caroline – the idea that addiction occurs in a vacuum is complete nonsense.

          4. Caroline

            That isn’t what I said. I said a happy family life and stable background doesn’t guarantee protection from it – which is the claim you made. That claim is patently untrue.

          5. Lilly

            Well then we’ll agree to differ. Because if you dig down, you’ll find it is true. Just because a family appears to be happy does not mean it is.

          6. Caroline

            Rubbish. Among many other issues, mental illness is a risk factor for addiction and homelessness. Not all mental illness is caused by your upbringing or how much your parents loved you. Absolutes in this regard are simple-minded.

  11. Insertus

    I see a report on SM saying Sophie (above) said the following. If true, it brings the garda dimension into this big time.

    Whatever the facts, RIP Jonathan.

    VIA – Sophie Alexandra Pigot
    “I found a man dead this morning in Dublin 50 metres from the Dail. He was lying on his face and his arm was blue and 1 hand contorted. I couldn’t get a response so I ran across the road to get the police at the Dail. I told him I need an ambulance but when I said it was a homeless man the guard stopped following me and said he couldn’t leave his post. I said I told him I didn’t know if the man was dead or not. The receptionist at the Dail said that the guards on duty there do leave there post for other occasions like traffic problems. Because he wouldn’t come I rang back and checked the man’s pulse and found none and he was ice cold. It was freezing this morning and if this was not a homeless man then I think that guard would have come if another member of the public were potentially still dying. Not a great 1st of December. Maybe volunteer or give support to homeless charities this Christmas then you pass them on grafton doing your shopping.”

  12. brown dogg

    Whoh whoh whoh . . . the guy was in trouble from an early age, I read somewhere he wazza junkie from his early twenties. Now! From growing up inna small country town with friends that got into this shit, I know that families try their freakin’ hardest to help their loved ones, but unfortunately some don’t want the help or assistance given and this guy seems to be one of those. He was an adult and made his bed throughout his life, and the consequence of his decisions was an untimely death inna doorway on molesworth street.

  13. Eamonn Clancy

    He chose to live on the streets unlike other homeless men and women who made the decision to get clean and sober then make amends with their families.

    1. DizzyDoris

      Yes sweetheart and I choose to be bald. Sit on any commuter train into Dublin full of people with a purpose to their day. None of us are perfect and most are just paying the bills but when people die; the principles of social justice MUST kick in. The state failed him. What part of that do you not understand?

    1. Insertus

      Wow, charming.

      Take your comments over to The Journal Stephen. You’ll find a few kindred spirits in the comments section.

    2. yoji101

      His life as grim as it was was all he ultimately had. Human life has value. Even under the relative anonymity of the internet you should be ashamed to have written that.

    3. Lilly

      @ Stephen Byrne – I’m guessing you’re one of those people who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  14. Truth in the News

    Its well past time that a proportion of the revenue take in alcohol and tobacco
    is directed into a strategic initiative to tackle homeless people sleeping on the
    streets and that they are treated and rehabilitated and not treated like
    some underclass….how long would anyone of us survive sleeping rough….?
    Lets us not forget this man dying alone in the cold within days of Christmas

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