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Thursday 12 December 2019

Comedian Brendan O’Carroll steps in to pay funeral costs for Polish man lying in morgue since Christmas

Brendan O Carroll called into RTÉ's Liveline to tell host Joe Duffy he would cover the funeral costs Credit: Brian McEvoy
Brendan O Carroll called into RTÉ's Liveline to tell host Joe Duffy he would cover the funeral costs Credit: Brian McEvoy

David Kearns

Comedian Brendan O’Carroll has offered to pay the funeral costs of a Polish man whose body has been lying in a morgue for more than three weeks after it was discovered on Christmas Day.

The kind-hearted gesture came about after a local undertaker in Ennis offered to bury the man for free after hearing about his plight from a woman who each year shared her Christmas dinner with the deceased 51-year-old.

Calling into RTÉ’s Liveline earlier today, homeless campaigner Josie O’Brien explained she was having trouble organising a burial service for the man, who she said had only recently found himself “an apartment or flat” to live in.

“I first met him in 2008 at one of the Christmas dinners we do each year for the homeless,” she said.

“He has been in Ireland since 2006 but has no family here as he is originally from Poland.

“His body has just been sitting in a morgue in Limerick since he was found on Christmas Day.”

Ms O’Brien said she received a call on Stephen’s Day telling her of the man’s passing and that it had only been two weeks since she last saw him.

“It was clear he wasn’t well because he looked awful.”

She told host Joe Duffy that the main problem she was facing in getting the 51-year-old buried was the cost of the funeral ceremony.

“The funeral director wouldn’t do it unless he is paid up front.

“He hasn’t been paid [by the social welfare] for the other homeless burials he’s done so I don’t blame him.

“But there’s no money to pay him and it’s been three weeks now, from yesterday, since this man passed away.

“Clare County Council has even offered a plot in Ennis for the burial,” Josie added.

Touched by the story, local undertaker Cyril Cusack called into the RTÉ radio show and offered his services, saying he was happy to do it for free.

“I am willing to offer my services for free. I’m new in business here in Ennis but I want to do my part and help out. It would be a good gesture.

“We will give him a dignified burial,” he added.

Overjoyed at the offer, Ms O’Brien repeatedly thank Mr Cusack.

However there was more good news as host Joe later told listeners that ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ star Brendan O’Carroll had been in touch from Florida to say he would be happy to pay for the funeral and burial.

“He’s been on to us and says to make all the arrangement and he will cover whatever needs to be covered,” he said.

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