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Friday 28 July 2017

Developer found hanged in shed 'was depressed'

Brian McDonald

ONE of the country's leading property developers was "stressed and depressed" in the days before he was found hanged in a disused shed.

John O'Dolan (51) had also been to see a psychiatrist the day before the tragic discovery of his body in a shed on lands he owned at Rusheen, Barna Road, Galway.

Details of his final movements were outlined yesterday at an inquest in Galway, which heard that he died from asphyxia due to hanging.

Mr O'Dolan's death last February shocked the property and business world in the West. He was highly regarded as successful in his profession and as a warm and generous family man.

With two partners, he had founded the successful auctioneering firm of Mullery, O'Dolan, Doyle in Galway in the early 1980s. He later struck out on his own and became a major player in property development, both in Ireland and internationally. He established O'Dolan International to develop his property interests around the world and in 2007, along with three others, snapped up the Island of Ireland at the unique World Development off the coast of Dubai for €28m.

He later purchased the Island of England in a similar deal for €23.5m. In addition, Mr O'Dolan, of Gentian Hill, Galway, had properties in Dublin and Limerick.

But as the property crash deepened, a receiver was appointed in early February to two of his business interests, a hostel and property sales company in Galway.

In a deposition to Mr O'Dolan's inquest in Galway yesterday, school principal Bernie O'Connell said he passed by land at Rusheen on the Barna Road just before 8am on February 27 last. He noticed a black 4x4 and a well-built man in his 50s with a black jacket walking to the back of the vehicle.

He did not know Mr O'Dolan, but later that day he became aware that he had been found dead at his land at Rusheen and he contacted the Garda.

Mr O'Dolan's business partner and nephew, Dara Sharkey, told the inquest that he had also passed by Rusheen on his way to a meeting. He passed the Range Rover Sport but did not see Mr O'Dolan.

While at his meeting, he got a number of phone calls from family members saying that they could not locate Mr O'Dolan.


The inquest heard that for three or four days previously Mr O'Dolan had been "fairly down".

Mr Sharkey met his father and brother and they began to search for him. They visited Silver Strand and then returned to Rusheen. They entered a disused horse shed and saw Mr O'Dolan hanging. His father felt for a pulse but there was none.

Mr Sharkey said he noticed a step ladder in an upright position next to the body.

Garda Shane Prendergast told the inquest that Mr O'Dolan had been reported missing to gardai at Salthill and that there was major concern for his safety.

Gda Prendergast said he had been made aware that he was recently "stressed and depressed".

He was also made aware that the previous day Mr O'Dolan had seen a psychiatrist, and that his family believed he had a rope in his possession.

Consultant pathologist Dr Mary Casey said that a ligature mark around Mr O'Dolan's neck was consistent with the rope found at the scene, and that he had died from asphyxia due to hanging.

West Galway Coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin recorded the cause of death in accordance with the medical evidence.

He expressed his deep sympathy to Mr O'Dolan's widow, Eileen, and their three children on his untimely and sudden death.

Insp Sean Glynn expressed the condolences of the gardai to the O'Dolan family.

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