Woman who may have lain dead in a Cork house for at least a year, named locally as Joyce O’Mahony

A woman believed to be in her sixties who was left dead in a house on Brookfield Lawn in Lough, Cork city, for at least a year, if not much longer, has been named locally as Joyce O’Mahony.

Mrs O’Mahony was predeceased by her father, Dr Thomas J O’Mahony, who underwent very successful GP surgery in Lough before his death in 2010. He was a highly respected man, originally from Denroches Cross in Cork.

His mother Patricia, known as Patsy, was known locally as an elegant, kind and musical person. She passed away in a nursing home in January 2021.

Joyce O’Mahony is believed to have still been alive as of sometime in 2022 based on a review of items from her home.

The body of the deceased lady was found yesterday afternoon after pest control services attended a nearby location.

They then headed to the townhouse as they strongly suspected the two-story property was the source of the vermin problem.

Investigation

The pest control company contacted gardaí after the remains were found on the property. The area was cordoned off and gardaí began an investigation.

It is understood Mrs O’Mahony was extremely private and had not been seen locally for several years. The garden is very overgrown and some neighbors believed she had left Ireland. There was a car parked on the road.

The tragedy has shocked and saddened locals in the close-knit community of Lough. Many homeowners in and around Brookfield Lawn have lived there for decades and there is a strong sense of community spirit.

Meanwhile, Joyce O’Mahony’s mother, Patsy, appeared on the Irish times Series ‘Lost Lives’ in 2021. The series marked the deaths of people who had died from covid.

Patsy O’Mahony, originally from South Terrace in Cork, has died aged 91. She liked to play the piano and she had a great love for music.

The couple had four children: two girls and two boys, whom they raised on the property not far from the picturesque Lough bird sanctuary. Patsy O’Mahony was widowed for more than a decade following the death of her 84-year-old husband fourteen years ago.

postmortem

Meanwhile, the body of Joyce O’Mahony was moved from a back room to the CUH mortuary for a post-mortem examination which will take place today.

There were no signs of forced entry into the house and it is ruled out that a crime was committed. The coroner has been notified and an inquest will be held in due course.

Dental records will be used to formally identify deceased women. Investigating officers are trying to establish when the woman, who is believed to have been in her sixties, may have died.

They will further examine personal items, such as emails and food expiration dates, in the refrigerator and cupboards.

Banking-related account statements will also be examined to determine when Ms. O’Mahony last made a transaction on her accounts. Telephone records will also be analyzed.

Gardai, Cork city firefighters and the ambulance service attended the scene.

Safety net

Cork seniors campaigner Paddy O’Brien has warned that too often older people are dead and undiscovered in their homes.

Speaking to Cork FM Network’s Neil Prendeville programme, Mr O’Brien suggested that the Department of Social Protection introduce a safety net that would allow vulnerable people to be helped or found dead much sooner.

“(Joyce O’Mahony’s death) is a desperate tragedy. To alleviate more tragedies, what has to happen is for the welfare people to change their system completely.

Two years ago I had a long discussion on the phone with Social Welfare and said they were making a mistake. This is if a person does not collect their pension for six weeks, which is recognized at the head office and written to the pension recipient.

If welfare doesn’t get a response within six weeks, they stop payment. And at that point I said ‘you shouldn’t write to the person, you should tell the gardaí and (they could) go and do something’. Many deaths could be avoided if a system existed.”

Welfare

O’Brien acknowledged that sometimes people become lonely and they have to respect their wishes. However, he stresses that it is necessary to take their well-being into account.

The older people’s advocate, who has been working in this area for several decades, also called on members of the public to contact the HSE or Gardaí if they have concerns about not seeing a neighbor for some time.

“For years and years I have said that knocking on a door can save a life. People feel like they are interfering. Look, you’re not interfering. If you don’t want to knock on the door contact me and I will knock on your door.

I’m sending a message to people. If your neighbor is missing. The curtains are not drawn. The grass has grown too long. There is a problem there. Contact the HSE in preference to the gardaí because the person could be ill.”

O’Brien said he has talked to people who have withdrawn from everyday life. He urges them to come closer.

“A phrase I always use is ‘you’ll have a better quality of life if you talk to people.’ The neighbors want to help. “People want to help.”

O’Brien added that each area should have a registry of people living alone.

“Each parish should have a visiting committee of volunteers just once a week to contact one person. “Some people don’t have any contact.”