Two homeless men who were sleeping rough in an Ennis toilet until last week plan to resume living rough in Clare next month.
The men, Czech national Josef Pavelka (58) and Polish man Peter Baram (35), were admitted to a hostel in Galway City last week, following a appeal for help by Judge Patrick Durcan at Ennis District Court.
The men’s living arrangements were disclosed in a report by the Probation Services at Ennis District Court where Mr Pavelka appeared on charges of public intoxication.
On viewing the report, Judge Patrick Durcan commented that it was a “scandal” that a person is “living in a toilet in a prosperous nation.”
Mr Pavelka’s solicitor Daragh Hassett said that if it wasn’t for the help of the church, his client “would be dead.”
The court heard Mr Pavelka has chronic problems with alcohol. However, according to Josephine O’Brien of the Help the Homeless in Clare charity, the move is just “papering over the cracks” and the men will be living rough in Ennis again in a matter of weeks.
“The are paid up in Galway until the first week in May, but after that they will back on the street in Ennis again. We need a proper solution to this problem,” she said.
“The situation is actually worse now that it was. They receive breakfast at the hostel and nothing else – so we have been going up and down to Galway every day to feed them.
“They don’t like it in Galway and they have said that they won’t be staying there.
“This is just papering over the cracks and it won’t change anything. When this is over they will be back on the street in Ennis – no different then before.
“I know both of these men have serious problems with addiction but sending them away like this isn’t going to cure anything.
“They need real help getting over the problems. This would be better for them and cheaper for everyone in the long run.
“There is no point moving them on from one place to the other and not dealing with the real issue.”
Mrs O’Brien also refuted a statement made by Ennis Town Council last week which said that there was no evidence that the two men were living in an Ennis toilet.
“I posted pictures of the toilet on Facebook more than a month ago. At that stage I was trying to get sleeping bags that they could use [in the toilets].
“They were certainly staying there,” she said.
In a statement to The Clare People last week, the Council said it “had no evidence of any parties using public toilets in Ennis as accommodation facilities”.
The statement continued; “Having checked with the gardaí, a similar view has been expressed.
“Furthermore, the company contracted to maintain the public toilets says there is no evidence to suggest that the toilets are being used in such a manner.
The Council says the toilets are “subject to an intense maintenance regime which involves a daily inspection by the said company”.

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Andrew has been working in the media in the West of Ireland for more than a decade. During that time he has been shortlisted for many national journalism awards, served as a judge for the Choice Music Prize in 2008 and was part of the nominating panel for the Meteor Ireland Music Awards from 2008 to 2011. He holds an MA in Journalism and Public Relation and a BA in English, Sociology and Politics. He is currently working on his debut novel. A selection of his writings, including a number of new short stories can be viewed on Fighting Talk - Follow Andrew on twitter: @Andrew_CPeople Contact Andrew on [email protected]

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