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Housemates cleaned up scene of fatal accident before Gardaí arrived

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Coroner for Galway West Dr. Ciaran MacLoughlin: sympathised with family over tragedy.

Two housemates who discovered their 46-year-old landlord lying in a pool of blood, cleaned up the mess before his family were informed, an inquiry into his death heard.

Coroner for West Galway, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, questioned each man individually, trying to understand why they had contaminated what was initially thought to have been a murder scene.

“When you find someone dead in unusual circumstances, with blood in the vicinity, you call the Gardaí,” he said to one of them.

“Everyone should know that, so that the scene can be preserved, so that the death can be fully investigated, so that his relatives would know that everything had been done properly, otherwise they would need to ask questions like I’m asking you today.”

Due to the suspicious nature of the death, State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, carried out the post mortem examination on the remains of the 46-year-old man. She found no evidence of foul play, however, and said that the cause of death was likely accidental and avoidable, but had been exacerbated by alcohol intoxication.

Shane Minihan had not been seen by his housemates for the two days between October 30 last and the morning he was discovered.

On the morning of November 1, one of them (27) arrived back to the house in Tirellan Heights at 8.30am, having worked the night shift in Medtronic.

He discovered glass on the floor, from a door panel, in the sitting room and blood on the bannister, both of which he cleaned up. He then went into his landlord’s room to check on him, but found him unresponsive and cold to the touch.

He said that there was blood on the side of Mr Minihan’s head and on his bed.

When asked by the Coroner why he had not called for help, he said that his phone was dead. The Coroner then asked why had he not gone outside to alert a neighbour, to which he replied: “Shane’s friend called (by chance) ten minutes later – he called someone.”

The second housemate, a 24-year-old student, was in the house when Mr Minihan was found dead. He did not think to ring the emergency services either, and said that it struck him as more important to ring the man’s family first, considering that he was already dead. He did not have their contact details, however, so he rang a mutual friend. He then cleaned blood off the wall.

“We didn’t want his sister to see his room like that,” he said.

Again the Coroner asked why he had not contacted the emergency services first. The young man replied that he thought it better to inform the man’s family, considering that he was dead, and once the Gardaí got involved they would have restricted access to the house.

“It was not better,” the Coroner replied.

When Gardaí were finally informed, by Mr Minihan’s friend, who called unexpectedly to check up on him, he was pronounced dead at 10.41am.

“He had a large laceration to his head, and he was in rigor mortis,” Dr Dennis Higgins noted.

Garda James Lynch told the court that he found drops of blood leading up to Mr Minihan’s bedroom. The house was sealed off, and the scene preserved.

The State Pathologist was called to carry out the post mortem examination, and she subsequently produced an eight-page report. A summary of her findings were read into the record – most importantly, that the source of the bleed was an incised (clean) wound to the right of his forehead, consistent with a cut from glass.

“He likely fell and hit off the glass door, which caused the injury to his face and ear,” Professor Cassidy stated.

“He was considerably intoxicated at the time of his death, which would be associated with a lack of co-ordination and unsteadiness – he would have been unaware of the danger to life that the injuries posed.”

The Coroner, who had read the State Pathologist’s conclusions into the record in her absence, advised the Minihan family that it was reasonable to suggest that their brother had died during the early hours of November 1.

Dr MacLoughlin concluded that death was caused by haemorrhage from an incised wound to the scalp, which was sustained in a fall.

He offered his sincere sympathies to Mr Minihan’s two sisters and his brothers in law on the very tragic circumstances of his death.

Connacht Tribune

Cherish every moment; hug and kiss your loved ones every night

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Happier days…Geraldine Mullan with her husband John and their children Tomas and Amelia.

Last August, GERALDINE MULLAN (née Connaughton) endured an unfathomable nightmare, losing her husband and two children in a crash that she herself was lucky to survive. Here the Williamstown native writes of life since – and how the support of so many has helped her over the last three months.

My husband John was a fan of Bruce Springsteen. In normal circumstances he would be currently enjoying Bruce’s latest album “Letter to You” and taking particular interest in the songs, especially the one entitled “House of a Thousand Guitars” (given John’s love of that instrument).

But these are not normal days and instead it is me appraising the new offering from The Boss and taking poignant note of some of the other lyrical melodies on the album, particularly those entitled “One Minute You’re Here” and “I’ll See You in my Dreams”.

These two songs in particular speak to my situation and have become musical reminders of my beloved departed, my husband John and our children Tomas and Amelia, who were cruelly taken from this world in late August of this year.

Since the tragedy unfolded, I have been surrounded by many wonderful people and wrapped up in their familial and communal embraces, all united in offering me solace, comfort, assistance and no end of love, understanding and compassion.

I stand each day and get through it, in no small part, due to the continuous support you provide to me.

Such is the outpouring and swell of sympathy and empathy alike, and many are the calls, messages, cards, letters, flowers, gifts, acts of service and human kindness which have reached my Moville doorstep, that I am truly overwhelmed, very much humbled and ever-grateful.

I am genuinely appreciative of it all and your love and caring has taken root in my heart and in my head. That being said, I am unable to respond to everyone individually, therefore this is my “Letter to You”, my simple way of acknowledgement and sincere thanks.

You can read Geraldine’s full, heart-breaking letter in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Early Christmas box for 13,500 Galway farmers

Francis Farragher

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CLOSE on 13,500 Galway farmers should be getting an early ‘Christmas Box’ this week with the final tranche of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) monies being paid out – ‘bang on schedule’, according to Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue.

Back in October, farmers got the 70% advance payment in BPS with a commitment given at the time that the balance would be paid out in early December – balancing payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme are scheduled to commence next week.

Total BPS payments to Galway’s 13,500 farmers come to just over €82 million, according to figures released by local TDs this week, with the average individual payment per farmer working out at just over €6,000.

East Galway TD and Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte, said that the final tranche of the BPS payments was a most welcome one for thousands of farmers across the county after a most difficult year.

“The really important thing about these payments is that they are being made on schedule and they will help a lot of farmers to ‘balance the books’ for 2020,” said Minister of State, Rabbitte.

The Minister for Agriculture also confirmed this week that payments under the 2020 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme will also commence alongside payment of the 2020 BPS balancing payment – this will also benefit a significant number of Galway farmers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Baby born in a hurry outside Ford garage – and he’s called Henry!

Denise McNamara

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Baby Henry Dyar with proud parents Lisa and Robert, and big brother Darragh.

There was only one choice of name for a new arrival born in a hurry outside a Ford garage, almost in the passenger seat of a Ford Mondeo – he was always going to be Henry after that.

And after his speedy arrival in the middle of a nationwide go-slow, little Henry Dyar is thriving – despite arriving three weeks ahead of schedule.

Mum Lisa McCauley was thankfully on alert as she had been caught out before; her first born son Darragh had arrived a month early two years ago.

So when she began to feel the first twinges of labour at 6.30am on November 17 – and after contacting the maternity ward in University Hospital Galway – she and husband Robert Dyar organised a babysitter for Darragh and headed out on the motorway from their home in Loughrea.

As they were approaching Oranmore and the traffic was beginning to build, Lisa was hit with the realisation that she would not make it as far as the hospital.

So the quick-thinking Garda called Mill Street Station requesting an escort to bring her the rest of the way.

She was met at the top of Bothar na Treabh by a patrol car, who had pulled in off the Kirwan roundabout beside Sheil’s Motorpark garage.

But by then things had progressed beyond the point of no return.

Read the full happy ending in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. 

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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