'A pure gentleman': Man killed at Cork hospital named

A man in his thirties who was arrested at the scene is being held for questioning at the Bridewell Garda Station. 
'A pure gentleman': Man killed at Cork hospital named

An 89-year-old widower who was killed following an alleged violent attack by a fellow patient at a Cork hospital has been named locally as Matthew Healy, a farmer from Berrings in Co Cork.

An 89-year-old widower who was killed following an alleged violent attack by a fellow patient at a Cork hospital has been named locally as Matthew Healy, a farmer from Berrings in Co Cork.

The incident occurred in a general ward at Mercy University Hospital (MUH) shortly after 5am today.

Staff intervened in a bid to bring the incident to a halt. The Armed Support Unit also attended at the scene and assisted in the arrest of a male patient.

Mr Healy was pronounced dead at the scene. The area where the incident took place was cordoned off to allow for a full forensic and technical examination by gardaí.

Staff and patients are shocked by what unfolded on site in the hospital which has treated patients in Cork city for close to 170 years. It happened on a six bed general ward.

The Mercy Hospital, Cork where an elderly man was attacked on a ward and subsequently died. Picture Dan Linehan
The Mercy Hospital, Cork where an elderly man was attacked on a ward and subsequently died. Picture Dan Linehan

A 32-year-old man, understood to be from the northside of Cork city, who was arrested at the scene is being held for questioning at the Bridewell Garda Station in Cork city. He is being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. He can be detained for up to 24 hours from his arrest. At that point he will either have to be released or charged.

The men were not believed to be known to each other prior to hospitalisation.

An incident room has been established at the Bridewell Garda Station. A family liaison officer has also been appointed to assist the bereaved family of Mr Healy. The pensioner is survived by his two adult sons and a daughter. He also had eight grandchildren.

Mr Healy was predeceased by his wife Delia, who died earlier this month, and another daughter who lost her life in an accident at a young age four decades ago.

Post mortem conducted

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána said this evening: "Gardaí in Cork continue to investigate all of the circumstances surrounding the death of Matthew Healy (late 80s) following an incident at Mercy University Hospital shortly after 5:30am on Sunday 22nd January 2023.

"A post-mortem examination was conducted this afternoon by Dr Bolster, Office of the State Pathologist, at Cork University Hospital. Details are not being released for operational reasons.

"A man in his 30s who was arrested at the scene is still being detained at Bridewell Garda Station, Cork, under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

"A Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) has been appointed and a Garda Family Liaison Officer (FLO) continues to liaise with the family of the deceased.

"The scene remains preserved for forensic and technical examination by the Cork City Divisional Scenes of Crime Unit."

MUH 'shocked' at unexpected death

MUH issued a statement in which they confirmed that gardaí are investigating a fatal incident involving a man in his late eighties at the hospital early this morning.

"The hospital is providing counselling services to patients and staff affected by the incident."

In a further statement the hospital said that they are "saddened and shocked at the tragic and unexpected death of an elderly patient in an incident in the hospital today."

The hospital has also expressed their "deepest condolences" to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased.

'Pure gentleman'

Local Fianna Fáil councillor, Michael Looney, said that the people of Berrings are deeply saddened and shocked by the passing of a "pure gentleman".

"He was a very quiet man. The last place you would think something like this would happen is in a hospital. When you go in to hospital you think you are safe in your bed.

“The people of Berrings are devastated. The family are here for generations. They are hugely respected.

“They (the Healy family) are lovely people and he (Mr Healy) was a thorough gentleman. A pure gentleman. His wife is only dead a few weeks."

Fr Patrick McCarthy, a priest in the Berrings area, said the community will be there for the family should they wish to avail of support.

“It’s during times of tragedy that the community shows its strength,” Fr McCarthy said. “We need each other more than ever. I know the community will be trying to give as much support as we can.” 

He described Berrings as a strong community with lots of support. Fr McCarthy said that all locals can do now is be there for the family.

“It's not always easy. Then again, what can any of us do when there is a tragedy besides be present for people in their grief, in their struggles, and in their difficulties. All you can do is just be there with them and metaphorically hold their hand. Of course, we can also support families in practical ways which people often do.

“The community is there for them. I hear when people are going through tragedies, even though the experience is absolutely terrible, they still need people. They appreciate them being around them. 

"There is nothing those around them can do but just be there and that’s what our community will do.” 

He urged people to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers.

“There is not much one can do but offer some level of support. I wouldn’t necessarily say this is any consolation, but it may be helpful to them in their grief and in their trauma.”

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