From top: The spot where a man was seriously injured when a tent he was sleeping in was removed by an ‘industrial vehicle’; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar launching Fine Gael’s election campaign at CombiLift in Monaghan today
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other members of Fine Gael launched the party’s general election campaign at CombiLift in Monaghan.
During the launch, Mr Varadkar was asked by reporters about the homeless man who suffered ‘life-changing injuries’ when the tent in which he was sleeping was removed by Dublin City Council/Dublin Regional Homeless Executive and Waterways Ireland near Leeson Street Bridge, along the Grand Canal yesterday at lunchtime.
An “industrial vehicle” was reportedly being used to remove the man’s tent.
Mr Varadkar initially said he was “loathe” to comment on individual cases “until we know all the facts” before he called on Dublin’s Lord Mayor and city councillor Paul McAuliffe to make a statement.
He said Mr McAuliffe is “politically responsible for the council”.
Mr McAuliffe is also a general election candidate in Dublin North West where Fine Gael’s Noel Rock is hoping to retain his seat.
Mr Varadkar told journalists:
“My understanding is that the city council and Waterways Ireland did check the tents before moving them but obviously something went wrong here.
“So I think it’s important that, you know, the city council and, you know, the Lord Mayor, whose politically responsible for the city council, should make a statement, and Waterways Ireland too.
“But the most important thing is that we wish him a speedy recovery.
“He is known to homeless services, has been offered accommodation in the past, will be offered accommodation in the future.
“We’ll do everything we can to reduce rough sleeping.
“I remember when we took over the housing department about three-and-a-half years ago, there were over 160 people sleeping rough on our streets in Dublin, that’s now down around 92.”
We @joeliveline were sent this pic of the poor man’s home who is suffering life changing injuries after the tent he was sleeping in was removed from the banks of the Grand Canal by an industrial vehicle. Lar Kelly warned #liveline last December that tents were being cleared pic.twitter.com/6yXn3Sfvfi
— Liveline (@rteliveline) January 15, 2020
Sickened by the news that a tent with a homeless person still inside was “removed by an industrial vehicle” today in Dublin..The man is suffering “life changing injuries”!
Seeing the poster of our Housing Minister hanging over the scene is like a sick joke.. pic.twitter.com/UXXfoQYOd8
— Jim Sheridan (@Jim_Sheridan) January 15, 2020
I was saddened to hear of the incident by the canal yesterday. My thoughts are with this poor man as he recovers in hospital. I’ve demanded a full report in to the incident which is under Garda investigation. My campaign poster which was located at the scene has been removed.
— Eoghan Murphy TD (@MurphyEoghan) January 15, 2020
Earlier: At Leeson Street Bridge (Updated)
Pic: Andrew Lowth