Tributes have been paid to ‘Old Man Belfield’ who passed away on Monday, January 11th, 2020.
The 71-year-old was found dead at the UCD campus shortly after midday. The homeless man was known to sleep on the Dublin-based campus.
In a statement, a spokesperson for An Garda Síochána said:
“Gardaí were called to the University campus following the discovery of the man’s body shortly after 12 noon. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body has since been removed to the Dublin City Morgue. The scene is currently preserved.”
“The Coroner has been notified and a post-mortem examination has been arranged for Tuesday 12th January.”
“The results of a post-mortem will determine the course of the Garda investigation. There is no further information available at this time.”
Old Man Belfield
In a statement on Twitter, a spokesperson for the college said:
“Michael Byrne, affectionately known as “Old Man Belfield” by students and staff, sadly passed away on Monday 11 January 2021.”
“A fiercely private person, we thank those of you who quietly looked out for Michael. We will miss him around the campus. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
In a tweet, Councillor Anthony Flynn said: “The body of a homeless man has been found in a sleeping bag on Dublin educational campus.”
“The man was found by another homeless person this morning. We warned that unless increased efforts were implemented regarding outreach protocols, we would see further death.”
Michael has been described as a “gentle soul” with “such a gentle presence on campus”. One tweeter said he was “always polite” and would “always nod as we passed on the campus”.
“Michael was perennial as the grass at UCD. A gentleman, I’ve never heard a bad work spoken of him.” another user wrote.
“A UCD icon, he will be remembered by generations of student”, while another said “UCD won’t be the same without him walking around campus”.