Tuesday, November 08, 2022

By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

A housing charity did not fall down in its duty in relation to the killing of a man in a flat it managed, the charity’s chief executive has said.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien also said that there were “learnings for all of us” in such incidents.

A murder investigation was launched after the body of Tony Dempsey, who was in his 20s, was found in a flat in Kevin Barry House, Coleraine Street, Dublin, in mid-September.

Chief executive of the Peter McVerry Trust, Pat Doyle, said that a review was carried out, which is common practice after there is a death in their service.

 

The Peter McVerry Trust is the national housing and homelessness charity, which is responsible for providing most of the country’s support under the Housing First policy to help people out of long-term homelessness.

Mr Doyle told RTE: “This year we’re working with over 700 people in Housing First and we’ve had 16 deaths and we review every one of them to make sure that we can do better.

“Tony wasn’t a client of us, although he had been previously a client with us, and so had a number of members of his family.

“And so we know the family well and we were there throughout the funeral, and our deepest sympathies to them.”

Mr Doyle said that they had been supporting the person who was the tenant of the flat, but that the tenancy was breaking down “in the most obvious ways that it breaks down”.

He said he did not believe that the Peter McVerry Trust fell down in their duty.

 

“We visited and supported our client on 31 occasions in the month of August and 14 times in the month of September. So we were there every day.

“We’re finding people, we’re resuscitating people all the time. If we’d have known that Tony was in that unit, we would have been the first responders.”

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, Mr O’Brien said that it was “a very, very tragic case, there’s no question about that”.

“Pat and the team at the Peter McVerry Trust, we spoke about that, about that very tragic incident, literally the day afterwards, as to what, if any, additional resources will be required.

“These are an exceptional organisation, very committed people, well trained people as well.

“And obviously, any incident such as that there are learnings for all of us and we will certainly take them on board.”

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