Vigil to be held in memory of grandfather who died while sleeping in tent in Dublin

Thomas ‘Red Tomo’ Lynch Boyd Dowling was described as a 'gentle soul' by his sister
Vigil to be held in memory of grandfather who died while sleeping in tent in Dublin

Sarah Slater

A homeless charity is holding a vigil outside the gates of the Dáil on Thursday to remember a man who was found dead in a tent in the early hours of Monday morning.

The man, named locally as Thomas ‘Red Tomo’ Lynch Boyd Dowling, was found at Loftus Lane, between Bolton Street and Parnell Street, at around 3am.

Mr Lynch Boyd Dowling, a father-of-seven and grandfather to three boys, was treated at the scene when he was discovered by emergency services, however, he was later pronounced dead.

The 44-year-old's remains were brought to the city morgue where a post-mortem examination will be carried out.

The charity, A Lending Hand, will be holding a candlelight vigil at 7.30pm on Thursday in his memory.

Gentle soul

Michelle Redmond, Mr Lynch Boyd Dowling’s sister said: “We want to highlight how he died, as we don’t want this to happen to another family.

“He was not just a homeless person - he was a person. A person with a face and a family who loved him. A decent person who fell on hard times.

“Thomas was a gentle soul who unfortunately lost his way. He was adoring father, a protective brother. He was an amazingly strong person, he had an unbreakable heart and spirit and a huge smile for everyone he met.

“He has six children alive and a three-month-old baby son, Michael who passed away 19 years ago. Thomas was a lovely person who was a free spirit.

“He will forever live on in his children and grandchildren. We plan to lay a wreath at the spot Thomas passed away in the coming days," Ms Redmond said.

A Garda investigation is under way into the circumstances surrounding Mr Lynch Boyd Dowling’s death and his funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.

A spokesperson from A Lending Hand added: “We will be holding a candlelight vigil to remember Thomas as the human he was and to remind our peers to start looking after and providing adequate hostel accommodation, so no other person has to die alone in a tent on the street.

His friends on the streets are also devastated to lose another pal to the neglect of our peers

“We met him every week, we probably gave him the tent he died in. The only home on offer to him at the time.

“We need to stop being so desensitised by just another homeless person. He was homeless, but he was much more than just that.

“His friends on the streets are also devastated to lose another pal to the neglect of our peers," the statement added.

It is estimated by homeless charities that 10 people have lost their lives while sleeping rough in Dublin this year so far.

A report from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) last year showed 79 people died in homeless circumstances in 2020, while anecdotal evidence indicates that more than 70 died on the capital’s streets in 2021.

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