A coroner has described a case where a dead man lay undiscovered in his Cork city home for almost seven months as"disheartening" in a time of mass communication.
The Cork city coroner, Philip Comyn, was speaking at the end of the inquest into the death of 84-year-old Ritchie Scanlan in his home at 52 Madden's Buildings in Blackpool.
The inquest was held at Cork City Coroner's Court this morning and an open verdict was delivered as there was not enough evidence to give a conclusive verdict.
The inquest heard that Mr Scanlan's decomposed body was found in his home on July 19 this year. The oldest unopened post in the house was from January 9 and his first missed pension payment was on January 4.
Evidence was heard that he had filled a prescription on December 17 last year and his nephew Denis Cronin said he had last seen him on Christmas Eve.
Both he and Mr Scanlan's other nephew, Joe O'Mahony, gave evidence that their uncle was a very private man. He did not have a landline or mobile phone at the time of his death.
Mr O'Mahony and his mother, who was Mr Scanlan's sister, went to the house on July 19 and found him dead.
The inquest heard he visited a pub and the bookies twice a week and also collected his pension.
Mr Comyn said he found it disheartening "in this age of mass communication that something like this could happen." He highlighted that his absence from the pub, bookies and the post office to collect his pension payments failed to trigger alarm bells that there was something amiss.
During the inquest, pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster said a cause of death could not be established because Mr Scanlan's body was in an advanced state of decomposition. But she said there was no evidence of trauma or fractures.
An electric heater was on in the home and Dr Bolster said this would have speeded up decomposition.
Garda Eric Stafford of Watercourse Road garda station went to the house after the body was discovered. He said there was no sign of forced entry and no trauma to the body.