A FUNDRAISING campaign has been established in honour of the 'kind, gentle' homeless man who was brutally murdered in Cork city last week.
The body of Francis 'Frankie' Dunne was found in the garden of Castlegreina House on Boreenmanna Road, with his head and arms removed last Saturday.
His family has now set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for homeless charities, Cork Simon and Caring for Cork's Homeless.
In a statement, the Dunne family said:
"Frankie was a father, grandfather, brother, uncle and nephew and friend to many in Cork.
"He had succumbed to a life of alcohol dependence many years ago, he lost a lot in his life, but he never lost his family's support or love.
"Every member of his family and large circle of friends at some point through the years have held him up, fed him, or sometimes just sat with him listening to his rambling chat or singing of rebel songs and just fall asleep.
"That was simply him; a kind gentleman but yes, an alcoholic.
"He had another family that he loved too, that family were his friends living in tents, homeless shelters or on the streets of his City, Cork.
"They were their own community of friends and comrades but without a front door of their own or even a mattress to lay down on at times, people whom an empty derelict house seemed like a safe place to have few drinks, a sing-song and lay down out of cold.
"As Frankie's family, we hope no else ever has to suffer the horrendous nightmare of what Frankie endured in the final hours of his life. No-one should be left so vulnerable on our streets.
"No-one should be beaten or murdered because they find themselves helpless due to alcoholism or for any other reason.
"As a thank you to the amazing work of the Simon community us as a family are hoping people will help us in our donation plea to people who were Frankie’s ‘other’ family.
"Please give what you can. Every penny counts. All the monies raised will go directly to Cork Simon Community and also Caring for Cork's Homeless group.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who has been a pillar of support for our family at this horrendous time.
The campaign can be found on https://www.gofundme.com/f/1ut2rbcueo
Meanwhile, the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder have puzzled those who knew Mr Dunne.
People who worked in homeless services and other charities in the city remember Mr Dunne as someone with addiction issues but who was generally regarded as harmless.
The 64-year-old was seen alive last Friday.
On Saturday, his body was found in the garden of Castlegreina House on Boreenmanna Road, with his head and arms removed.
The gruesome murder has sparked a major garda investigation.
Forensic experts are still combing the property for clues after securing an extra 48-hour extension of the designation of the property as a crime scene.
No weapon has been recovered.
Up to 40 gardaí and detectives are involved in the probe.
Mr Dunne was seen at a high-support housing unit run by Cork Simon on Friday.
Charity service workers and friends say they are confused as to why anyone would want to murder Mr Dunne.
A friend of Mr Dunne, fellow homeless man John Cooney, told The Echo this week about the type of person Mr Dunne was.
“I knew him from the streets,” he said.
“One day I was in a bad place and he gave me the price of a pack of cigarettes. When you’re on the streets, every day is a low point but this was a particularly low point.
"I’ll never forget that. In these situations, small luxuries can feel like heaven. He didn’t want the money back but I later returned it to him anyway. When you’re down something as small as a packet of cigarettes can be your one comfort.
“The streets are a difficult place. It’s nice to be reminded that somebody cares about you. You would experience kindness from other homeless people now and again, but Frankie was someone you’d see on a regular basis. He was always there.”
“Frankie had his heart for the right people,” said John.
“If you were cold he would do everything in his power to get you another blanket. That was just the kind of person he was.”
John described how Frankie had a gift for lifting people’s spirits.
“It’s good to talk to someone when you’re alone and Frankie had a way of bringing people out of their doom. A lot of the time we’ll share our situations but it’s not often that we speak about our lives before homelessness.
“Frankie is the last person we thought this would happen to. The person responsible for this needs to be taken away from the public before he does this to someone else.”