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Investigations under way after two women found dead at homeless centre

Credit: Irish Times

Separate investigations are under way into the deaths of two young women at a homeless service in Dublin.

The bodies of the women were discovered hours apart on Tuesday at the Abigail Women’s Centre, Kildonan Road, in Finglas, gardaí confirmed.

The first discovery was made at about 6am of a woman, aged 34, in her room. It is understood she was a mother and died by suicide. The body of a second woman, aged 21 years, was found at about 10.30am. It remains unclear how she died.

“Investigations are ongoing. Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene and a file will be prepared for the coroner’s court,” a Garda spokeswoman said about each case.

Shocked

A spokeswoman for Novas Housing which operates the Abigail Centre confirmed the deaths.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by these tragic deaths. Our deepest sympathies go to these women’s families, to the other residents and to our staff.

“These deaths underline the extreme vulnerability of homeless women and the need for specialised, therapeutic supports,” she added.

The deaths brought to three the number among the centre’s residents in three days, she said. A woman who had lived there for a number of years died in hospital on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) confirmed: “There were two tragic deaths in a supported emergency accommodation in the Dublin region today.

“The HSE are currently supporting both staff and residents of the facility.

“On behalf of the four Dublin local authorities, we would like to express our condolences to the family and friends of the two women.”

Dublin city councillor Anthony Flynn, whose charity Inner City Helping Homeless, was working with both women through its mental health outreach service, called for an “immediate investigation” into what happened.

“News of any death within homeless services is always difficult. An immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths must be immediately launched and supports for staff and those also occupying the unit must also be put in place by the DRHE.

Supports

“Continued calls for proper mental health supports went unheard by the outgoing government. Only last week I called on both Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to combine resources and ensure the appropriate wraparound supports are in place for those who are homeless.

“We are failing on mental health and we are also failing on homelessness, unfortunately both of these come hand in hand in these tragic circumstances. I believe we need and require a mental health taskforce ensuring the appropriate wraparound supports are available to all in homelessness”.

Abigail House is the only homeless service catering exclusively for women. It has a capacity for 40 residents.

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