Tributes paid to UCD’s Old Man Belfield following his passing

by Rachel Darcy

The discovery of a body on the University College Dublin campus on Monday is being investigated by Gardai.

A 71-year-old man, believed to be UCD stalwart Old Man Belfield, was discovered unresponsive on the University campus at Belfield at approximately 12pm on January 11, with Gardai then called to the scene.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was removed to the Dublin City Morgue.

A spokesperson for An Garda Siochana said: “The scene is currently preserved, and the Coroner has been notified and a post-mortem examination has been arranged for today, January 12, which will determine the course of investigation.”

Tributes have been paid to the man, who is understood to be beloved UCD figure ‘Old Man Belfield’, Michael Byrne.

Byrne, who slept rough on the campus for many years, was known amongst UCD faculty and students, with the University paying tribute to him on Twitter following news of his passing.

“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.”

Replies to the post called for a permanent memorial to be established on the Belfield campus in his memory.

Many prominent UCD graduates, including Richard Chambers, Doug Leddin and Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, all paid tribute to Old Man Belfield following the news on Monday night.

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