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Outrage after homeless man's tent set on fire as he slept inside

It has emerged that homeless are forced to sleep in a carpark as council has no number for them to call for accommodation on weekend

Gerry Hand

A homeless man who is part of the country’s first tented community of homeless people narrowly escaped serious injury after vandals set his tent ablaze on Saturday.

The man was asleep inside when the incident occurred and dashed to safety but was unable to extinguish the fire.

The community of homeless people were forced to live side by side in a Navan car park after it emerged the local council has no number for them to call to access emergency accommodation over weekend periods.

Now Independent councillor Alan Lawes has slammed local authority bosses for their inaction especially as they have a staff member on call all the time for other emergency situations.

Alan Lawes

He blasted, ‘It is ridiculous really if you have a plumbing, electrical or any other kind of emergency over the weekend there is a number you can ring to seek help from the council, so why can’t they give the person who responds to that call information about where there are beds available.

‘It won’t cost them an extra cent as the person is already been paid anyway and it would avoid situations like this where a man could easily have lost his life.’

A number of those living in the tents have told Lawes they feel safer there than in some of the emergency accommodation provided by Meath county council.

He said, ‘ Quite a few of them have said that and given me a variety of reasons, some say the places they are sent are sub standard although that wouldn’t be the word they use and cite electrical faults and dampness in the rooms, while others say they fear physical attacks in those places.’

Lawes revelations come just weeks after photographs, showing a bathroom covered in blood, emerged of the aftermath of a vicious assault in a house used by the council to house people on HAPS payments.

Gardai are investigating that incident which saw one man hospitalised with serious head injuries.

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