Sunday 15 September 2019

Death of woman (64) in hotel may be due to leak of toxic gas

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Caroline Crawford

An investigation into the death of a guest at a Connemara hotel is looking at whether carbon monoxide played a part.

The deceased has been named locally as Breda 'Betty' Harrington (64), from Donoughmore in north Cork.

Ms Harrington was found dead in her room in the Connemara Lake Hotel shortly before noon on Monday.

The hotel remains closed and a number of examinations were carried out yesterday. One line of inquiry being investigated is whether the incident could have been as a result of a carbon monoxide leak.

A source last night told the Irish Independent that it was too early to determine the exact cause at this stage, but that a possible leak would be probed.

"It's too early in the examinations to definitely state what the cause of this woman's death was, and a number of different aspects will have to be looked at," the source said.

The woman's body was found shortly after 11.30am and emergency services were alerted.

Other guests were evacuated on Monday after reports that a number of people had felt unwell. Several guests presented at the emergency department at University Hospital Galway yesterday afternoon.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) also has investigators at the scene. However, a spokesman said it was not yet carrying out an investigation. "We are currently examining the circumstances of the incident and whether the death was as a result of any work-related activity. This will determine whether a HSA investigation will follow," he said.

Ms Harrington was on holiday and it is understood her relatives are regular visitors to the area. Her body was removed to University Hospital Galway, where a post-mortem examination was expected to be carried out last night.

Gardaí said they were awaiting results of the post-mortem and the initial assessment of the scene by the HSA. They said they were not treating the death as suspicious at this point.

A statement on the hotel website said: "The Connemara Lake Hotel confirms that a guest tragically passed away while staying in the hotel over the weekend. The hotel is closed until further notice while an investigation takes place by An Garda Síochána.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the deceased, their family and friends."

Irish Independent

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