(CNN)A homeless man is in a serious condition in a Dublin hospital after the tent he was sleeping in was picked up by an industrial litter-clearing vehicle.
Homeless man seriously injured when his tent was swept away in cleanup
The unnamed man was injured when workers from Waterways Ireland, the body responsible for maintaining Ireland's rivers and canals, cleared a walkway along a canal in the Irish capital.
"A man (age unknown) was sleeping in his tent when it was being removed in an attempt to tidy the canal walk way," local police said in a statement. "The man received injuries during this incident and was removed to St. Vincent's Hospital where he remains in serious condition but stable."
According to Dublin City Council, the incident happened on Tuesday afternoon, when workers "were removing tents that were placed in a precarious and dangerous location."
Local media reports suggest the vehicle had a mechanical arm that removed the assembled tents by lifting them up and placing them in a truck for disposal.
A spokesman for Waterways Ireland said the body is "cooperating fully" with police investigating the incident, adding that "our thoughts are very much with the individual who was involved."
According to homelessness charity Focus Ireland, the most recent data show that there were 10,448 homeless people -- 6,696 adults and 3,752 children -- across Ireland in the week of November 18-24, 2019.
The number of homeless families has increased by over 300% since November 2014, the charity says.
Homelessness is set to be a key issue during campaigning for February 8 general election.
Speaking on the campaign trail, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said: "My understanding is that Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland did check the tents before removing them. But, obviously, something went wrong here."