The death of a homeless man in the run-up to Christmas next to Leinster House in Dublin where the Dail (Parliament) sits has stunned politicians.
Jonathan Corrie, a 43-year-old from Co. Carlow, was found dead in Molesworth Street 20 yards from the Leinster House gates on Monday morning.
He was known to several TDs (members of Parliament). Campaigners for the homeless claimed the death is a damning reflection of the state’s failure to protect the worst off.
He was found by a woman walking to work at 6:45 a.m. on a doorway on the plush Molesworth Street, less than 20 meters from the Dail, directly opposite the political haunt, Buswells Hotel, and close to the nearby Norwegian Embassy and the European Parliament Information Office.
Several TDs and senators joined a candle-lit vigil outside Leinster House on Tuesday evening in memory of the man.
Gardai (police) are not treating the death as suspicious and are awaiting post-mortem results to determine if the cold weather or drug use was a factor.
Mike Allen, of homelessness charity Focus Ireland, said the death made clear the severity of the homelessness crisis.
“The men who sleep rough around there would be known to a number of the TDs,” he said.
“There have been a number of questions to Enda Kenny in the Dail about homelessness, and he refers to his conversations with the men who sleep in that area.”
Dessie Ellis, Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman, said, “That this man took his last breath just outside the parliament that rubber-stamped the policies that failed him is highly symbolic.”
Recent official figures show the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin has soared by a fifth over the past year.
Leading homelessness campaigner Sister Stanislaus Kennedy said the government could stop families becoming homeless at the stroke of a pen to allow welfare payments to keep pace with rocketing rents.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett called on the government to hold an emergency debate on homelessness. He said the tragic death symbolized the failure of the ruling coalition to deal with the crisis.