Thursday 19 April 2018

Son of man who died at daughter's wedding said his father had heart by-pass operation cancelled last year

The late Tommy O'Brien
The late Tommy O'Brien

Gordon Deegan

The son of the 70-year-old man who collapsed at his daughter’s wedding and later died from a heart attack on Saturday night has blamed lengthening HSE waiting lists for his father’s death.

Last Saturday, Tommy O’Brien, from the village of Quin in Co Clare, collapsed on the dance floor of the Bunratty Castle Hotel during a wedding reception for his only daughter Karen.

Just hours beforehand, Mr O'Brien proudly walked Karen up the aisle at their local church in Quin.

Efforts to revive father-of-two Mr O’Brien at the scene failed and he was later pronounced dead at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

The O’Brien family gathered again at the same church yesterday for the funeral mass of Mr O’Brien, who was described as a great father, a great husband and doting grand-dad by his son Eoin.

Read more here: Bride's father dies just hours after walking her down aisle 

At the end of the mass in an emotional address, Eoin told the packed congregation: "The truth of the matter though is that Tommy shouldn’t be laying in front of us here today.

“He was due for a heart by-pass operation last September and it was continually postponed due to waiting lists - well that waiting list is now one name short and we are down a wonderful man.

“Our anger at losing Dad is this way is hard to quantify.

“There are political figures in the congregation today. We can accept your sympathy and your kind words, but we shouldn’t have to accept this level of health service in a first world country.

“To you I say ‘please do more’.”

Earlier in the mass, Fr Iggy McCormack said that Tommy’s wife, Noreen, told him that it was one of Tommy’s dearest wishes to walk their only daughter, Karen, up the aisle on her wedding day.

Describing him as a "a kind man", Fr McCormack said that there had been some concern that if Tommy had been called for his operation, he wouldn’t be able to walk Karen up the aisle.

“Saturday last can be described for the O’Brien family as a bittersweet day because we had the most beautiful wedding ceremony here at 2 o'clock. My abiding memory of Tommy is a man walking up his beloved daughter, Karen here to the altar - a man who looked enormously proud and satisfied as he did that.

“It was a beautiful intimate ceremony - about 60 guests that is considered small by modern standards but all the more intimate as a result. It was as if every person here was fully present to that moment.”

Items brought to the altar to symbolise Tommy’s passions in life included a hurley, a soccer ball, the jersey of local soccer club Rhine Rovers, a deck of cards and a set of darts.

Outside Church as Mr O’Brien’s coffin emerged, members of Rhine Rovers formed a Guard of Honour in a show of respect for the club’s Life President.

Mr O'Brien was later laid to rest at the family plot at Quin Abbey.

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