A man, whose body parts were found at a recycling centre in Dublin in July this year, has been identified.
Police have identified the man as thirty-seven year old Mark Burke (pictured). His last known whereabouts suggest he was sleeping rough, being an occasional resident at a homeless shelter in Dun Laoghaire.
The grisly find was initially being dealt with as a murder, after the dismembered body parts of the man were found at Thorntons recycling plant.
Appeal for information was called for after workers at the recycling site found a lower leg and foot. Part of an upper leg was then discovered along with further remains after thousands of tonnes of waste was searched.
Matt Harrison, StreetLink – “People who sleep rough have difficult choices to make, and sheltering in a bin can seem like a safe, dry place to spend the night. However, when the bin is emptied, all too often people are still inside and their lives become immediately at risk”
Mr Burke’s body was eventually identified through extensive DNA testing.
The authorities now believe Mr Burke, from Sandyford, in south County Dublin, may have been sleeping rough in a Thorntons recycling skip, where his body may have become entangled in the mechanism of the collection vehicle.
Local police, who knew Mr Burke, said he was a “harmless, decent” person who had developed an alcohol dependency.
The investigation may now be downgraded to a suspicious or accidental death inquiry.
In February this year another man was almost killed after sleeping in a recycling bin in Dublin, spurring Ireland’s largest waste collector to call for safety protocols to be implemented in an effort to avoid fatal incidents.
The incident that spurred the call saw a homeless man who had fallen asleep in a recycling bin narrowly escaped being crushed to death after the bin was tipped into a compactor.
As a result Greyhound Recycling called for measures to check large containers.
The homeless man was believed to have been sleeping in a large recycling bin in the Hardwick Street flats area of Dublin city centre.
Research by Biffa and CIWM published last year revealed that people sleeping rough do seek shelter in waste and recycling bins, particularly in cold or wet weather, which is putting their lives at risk and has resulted in a number of fatalities.
When CIWM partnered with waste and recycling company Biffa and the rough sleeping service StreetLink to carry out this piece of research, it was in response to a number of industry-wide near misses and fatalities.
Matt Harrison, StreetLink, said: “People who sleep rough have difficult choices to make, and sheltering in a bin can seem like a safe, dry place to spend the night. However, when the bin is emptied, all too often people are still inside and their lives become immediately at risk”.
The report looks at the scale of the problem and sets out industry recommendations for managing this issue.
HSE guidance on this issue is available and by ensuring best practice is followed when checking bins prior to tipping, and training waste collection crews to know what advice to give to their customers on the need to lock bins, it is hoped that lives can be saved.