Thursday 22 February 2018

Family's relief as ashes of late relative returned anonymously after Liveline appeal

Joe Duffy
Joe Duffy

Rebecca Lumley

The ashes of a woman stolen from a Raheny home yesterday have been returned safely, following the family’s desperate appeal for information.

Speaking on RTE One’s Liveline today, Anne O’Reilly told how her cousin’s ashes had been stolen from her elderly parents’ home.

Ms O’Reilly said two men entered her parents’ home yesterday, under the guise of “fixing the water.”

Her 93-year-old father was home alone at the time and let the men into the house, thinking they had come to fix the family’s stair-lift, which was broken.

Ms O’Reilly said her father is hard of hearing and did not realise what was happening.

One of the men ushered her father into the back of the house, while the other ran upstairs into her parents’ bedroom, stealing €300 in cash and a small wooden box containing her cousin Justine’s  ashes.

Ms O’Reilly said the loss of the ashes was “heartbreaking” for the family, as Justine’s mother had passed away just a month previously.

Justine died almost 20 years ago and the ashes had been in Ms O’Reilly’s mother’s possession for many years. She said her mother was extremely upset by the incident, particularly after the death of Justine’s mother.

Ms O’Reilly said the box was likely mistaken for a jewellery box, as it was sealed with a small padlock.

“I presume these people are just looking for anything valuable, any money, jewellery. They would have probably presumed that the box had jewellery in it, so no doubt when they open it and just find an envelope with ashes in it they’ll just fling it away. And that just is devastating for us," she said.

However, just an hour after Ms O’Reilly spoke on air, Liveline presenter Joe Duffy announced that the ashes had been found.

The box containing the ashes were left on the steps of a funeral home, having been anonymously returned.

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