Monday 24 September 2018

Mum who contracted food poisoning at First Communion function died due to salmonella, inquest hears

O'Dwyers pub. Inset: Sandra O'Brien
O'Dwyers pub. Inset: Sandra O'Brien

Louise Roseingrave

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

Investigations into the outbreak are continuing, an inquest into the death of 55-year-old mother of one Sandra O’Brien heard.

Sandra O'Brien
Sandra O'Brien

Mrs O’Brien, from Rivervalley, Swords, Co Dublin died on May 21 last following the consumption of food prepared by a catering company working from O’Dwyers Pub, Strand Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin.

The woman’s husband Sgt Michael O’Brien attended a short inquest hearing into her death opened at Dublin Coroner’s Court.

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 Prosecution (DPP) once investigations are complete.

“It’s an investigation into the outbreak in relation to compliance with food safety legislation. We are not investigating the death of a particular person,” Mr Noel Donnelly, Principal Environmental Health Officer in Fingal, north Dublin told the court.

The inquest heard that an autopsy was carried out by Pathologist Avril Cullen and 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, reducing the heart's ability to pump and causing rapid or abnormal heart rhythms.

Following her death on May 21 2017, 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 became aware of more than 50 people from a number of different family groups supplied by the company over the weekend of May 13 and 14 last year, who became ill.

The catering company Flanreil Food Services, who 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 investigations to continue and the coroner adjourned the inquest until November 8 2018.

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

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane extended her condolences to Mr O'Brien.

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