Friday 18 January 2019

Mum died of salmonella after First Communion

Sandra O’Brien died after she had a meal at the function
Sandra O’Brien died after she had a meal at the function

Louise Roseingrave

A woman who contracted food poisoning at a First Communion function died due to salmonella.

An inquest into the death of 55-year-old Sandra O'Brien, a mother of one, heard that investigations into the outbreak are continuing.

Ms O'Brien, from Rivervalley, Swords, Co Dublin, died on May 21 last year following the consumption of a meal prepared by a catering company operating from O'Dwyers Pub, Strand Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin.

The woman's husband, Michael O'Brien, attended the short hearing into her death which was opened and adjourned at Dublin Coroner's Court yesterday.

Investigations by two separate authorities are ongoing into the salmonella outbreak, the court heard.

The Health Service Executive's Environmental Health Office and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland are preparing files on the incident.

Reports will be filed by both authorities to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) once the investigations have been completed.

"It's an investigation into the outbreak in relation to compliance with food safety legislation," Noel Donnelly, who is principal environmental health officer in Fingal, told the court.

"We are not investigating the death of a particular person."

The inquest heard that an autopsy was carried out by pathologist Avril Cullen.

Her findings revealed that the cause of death was acute myocarditis as a consequence of salmonella infection with previous myocarditis as a contributory factor.

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle and can be caused by a viral infection or an immune response.

That causes a reduction in the heart's ability to pump and can result in rapid or abnormal heart rhythms.

Following Ms O'Brien's death, Mr O'Brien formally identified his wife's body at Connolly Memorial Hospital in Blanchardstown to Garda Kevin Barry.


After the incident, the HSE said it had became aware of more than 50 people from a number of different family groups, who were supplied by the company over the weekend of May 13 and 14 last year, becoming ill.

The catering company, Flanreil Food Services, which provided the food served on the day of the First Communion function, was represented at the inquest by solicitor Elaine Byrne.

Inspector Oliver Woods applied for a six-month adjournment of the inquest to allow for the various investigations to continue.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest until November 8.

"If there are any updates in the meantime, we will inform you," Insp Woods told the court.

Dr Cullinane extended her condolences to Mr O'Brien.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News