A homeless man is in a serious condition after being injured when the tent he was in was moved by an industrial vehicle.
The man is said to have received "life-changing injuries" after the tent he was sleeping in was cleared from the banks of the Grand Canal in Dublin. It was removed on Tuesday afternoon by a vehicle carrying out works for Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland.
A Garda investigation is currently underway. The police stated that the tent was removed "in an attempt to tidy the canal walkway."
The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive is now liaising with the man and has said accommodation "remains available to him."
Watch: This is the location where a homeless man was left in a serious condition after he was injured in an attempt to remove the tent he was sleeping in. Read the story: https://t.co/dVEFRtWJCe pic.twitter.com/KJRLZLrocY— Newstalk (@NewstalkFM) January 15, 2020
Dublin City Council claims that the tents beside the canal were in a "precarious and dangerous location" and "that every action taken by State services is taken in the interest and safety of those experiencing homelessness."
The incident quickly became a point of political contention in the Irish capital on the same day that the general election was called.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is the leader of the Fine Gael party, said that he was concerned by the case and that it was important that the Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe, who is politically responsible for the city council, make a statement on the matter. The Lord Mayor is also a Fianna Fáil candidate, Fine Gael's main political rivals in the upcoming election.
Breaking: Asked Taoiseach about serious injuries to homeless man in Dublin.January 15, 2020
In response, McAuliffe said he was "disappointed" by the Taoiseach's statement.
"A man was seriously injured and yet An Taoiseach appeared to be more interested in appointing blame to somebody else," he said.
"I understand due to the precarious location of the tent, Waterways Ireland decided to make use of a mechanical vehicle. All of these details will now be the subject of a Garda investigation.
"There may be an election ongoing at the present but a human being has been seriously injured this morning. That was my first concern when I heard about it, and I wanted to find out the details and so I have asked for a full report. It seems that the Taoiseach's first thought was to play a political game."