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Gerard Gavin – Husband, Solider & Wet House Dweller



Gerard Gavin

Husband, Solider & Wet House Dweller

Last Saturday morning I woke to the news that someone had been knocked down and died just outside my front door. Being curious, I tried to find out who it was, but it took me a few days to find this out, which was very unusual for this area (as it is a close community; everybody knows everybody’s business). When I found out, I was shocked as the man who was hit by a taxi and killed instantly at 2am last Saturday morning was Gerard Gavin, affectionately known to me and others in the area as ‘Shuffles” (because of his distinctive walking style).

Shuffles lived in the Wet House on James street (a hostel for alcoholics who wish to continue their drinking), and first came to my attention about eight months ago, when seen, wearing nothing more than a pair of over-sized Y-fronts (underpants), a white sleeveless vest, and a blank facial expression (hiding an otherwise keen mind) with a small dribble of drool stemming from the left corner of his mouth.

What also made him unique (from other dwellers at the Wet house) was his technique for extracting money from passers-by. He would lie down in the middle of the road, on James Street, and play dead. When a concerned driver stopped to help this prostrate-lying figure, that confronted them, Shuffles would stagger to his feet and demandingly state “€2, €2”.

Gerard Gavin was born in Callen, Co. Kilkenny in 1946. After spending 22 years in the Defence Forces, his wife passed away and he subsequently made the transition from a working family-man to a client (one of the many) of the Wet House on James Street. A client (according to staff at the wet house) is a non-functioning alcoholic whose permanent residence is the Wet House.

Myself and my colleague (Poraic Cahill) went to his funeral to pay our respects on Friday morning, where we spoke to Gerard’s friends.

Outside the church while in conversation with these friends, they expressed their disappointment that nobody from the wet house showing up to the funeral. They also expressed their surprise at what Gerard was doing walking the streets at that hour last Saturday morning (as all clients should be in by 10pm).

We know Gerard didn’t make his 10pm curfew that night (as all clients are not allowed leave the premises after that time) so the question beckons how did he end up under a taxi?

We asked the Wet house this question and their response was ‘No comment’. These correspondents can’t help but wonder how his final moments on James Street played out? Was he playing dead or was he simply trying to get home to his bed?


Related Story about the James Street Wet house issue here


By Gary Kelly & Poraic Cahill

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