Monday 19 August 2019

'Mary will be sorely missed' - Tributes paid to deaf pioneer (89) who passed away in tragic house fire

Mary Moynihan
Mary Moynihan
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Tributes have been paid to an 89-year-old woman who passed away earlier this month in a tragic house fire.

Mary Moynihan, from Model Farm Road in Co Cork, died in a house fire on November 6.

Mary Moynihan
Mary Moynihan

Despite desperate efforts to revive her, the pensioner was pronounced dead before she could be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Mary, who was deaf, lived alone and used sign language to communicate.

Graham O’Shea, chairperson of the Cork Deaf Club, told Independent.ie that Mary was a pioneer for the Irish deaf community.

"Many deaf people of my generation would consider Mary to be very lucky because her education was mostly through ISL (Irish Sign Language) and she was taught by deaf teachers.

"Mary communicated with the two-handed alphabet to hearing friends and workers. She taught the one-handed, ISL alphabet to her siblings, nieces, nephews and grand nephew/nieces. She also had a great command of written English. Sometimes it is assumed that deaf people have a communication difficulty, but this is rarely the case, and certainly it could not have been said about Mary."

Mr O'Shea said that Mary's death has devastated the local community.

"Mary’s death is a big blow to the deaf community here in Cork, particularly given the tragic circumstances in which it occurred. She was much loved and appreciated. The funeral has not taken place yet. When it does, I am sure there will be a great turnout of people from all over the country.

“Mary had a marvellous sense of humour. She was a great storyteller and had many experiences to recount about her life as a deaf woman growing up in 1940s/50s Ireland. She will be sorely missed,” he added.

Mary was the loving sister of the late James Jim, Peg, Sheila and Con. She will be sadly missed by her loving nephews, nieces, grandnephews, grandnieces, relatives, carers and friends especially those in the Cork Deaf Community.

The fire is not being treated as suspicious.

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