Monday 15 October 2018

Parents win court battle to bury their daughter at chosen site

Ray Managh andEugene Hogan

THE parents of a young woman who died tragically last week have won a battle with the woman's partner to decide the location of her burial.

Kathleen McCarthy O'Reilly, who died suddenly on Friday, is to be buried by her parents in Askeaton, Co Limerick, on Friday next.

Timothy O'Reilly, who had two children with 22-year-old Kathleen of Riverview, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, following an "invalid" wedding ceremony, lost an application to be allowed to conduct his late wife's funeral arrangements.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne told Michael and Margaret McCarthy yesterday they would have responsibility for the funeral of their daughter, but would have to arrange separate day-long wakes in funeral parlours in Cork and Askeaton for both families.

Following Kathleen's tragic death last Friday, an inter-family row over where she should be buried and by whom, moved to the High Court when her partner, Timothy O'Reilly, asked Judge Dunne on Monday to release her body to him for burial.

Judge Dunne also directed that the headstone should bear the name Kathleen McCarthy O'Reilly and that Mr O'Reilly and the couple's children, should they so decide, could be buried in the Askeaton grave.

She said her concern was that as the children, aged three and 15 months, grow older, be able to visit and grieve at the grave and should be able to see their mother's name on it.

Following the court decision, Kathleen's father, Michael McCarthy, said they were happy with the judge's directions.

"I am delighted everything worked out OK. Now we can rest her in peace," he said.

Mr O'Reilly, who "married" Kathleen in a ceremony conducted by controversial Bishop Michael Cox following an elopement, said he did not wish to comment after yesterday's hearing. Bishop Cox ordained singer Sinead O'Connor a priest.

Judge Dunne said the couple had gone through a ceremony of marriage which had clearly been accepted by both parties as not a valid marriage. Judge Dunne said in essence the father had sought to be appointed guardian to the children for the purpose of extracting a grant of administration of the estate of Ms O'Reilly.

In effect the purpose of seeking this relief was basically to effectively get control over the her remains for the purpose of dealing with her funeral arrangements and burial.

Michael and Margaret McCarthy, of Glenanaar, Old Mallow Road, Cork, had also sought an order that the remains of the deceased be released to them.

Judge Dunne said she had taken the view that because of the sensitive nature of this particular dispute, that when the matter opened before her she had attempted to facilitate the parties to try to come to some arrangement to resolve matters if possible themselves.

Despite the best efforts of all concerned it had not been possible for them to agree.

Following discussions between Rita Considine, counsel for the McCarthys, and Terry O'Connell, for Timothy O'Reilly, Judge Dunne made a number of orders.

She directed that the Limerick Coroner release the remains into the care of the McCarthy family and that they would be waked by the McCarthy family today in a funeral parlour in Cork.

Tomorrow morning the remains would be removed to a funeral parlour in Askeaton where her remains would be waked by the O'Reilly family. On Friday the remains would be buried in Kilcornan Cemetery following requiem mass in Askeaton.

Security at the Mid-West Regional Hospital where Kathleen's body lay last night remained tight as a precaution but gardai were not expecting any incidents. There is expected to be a heavy security presence at Friday's funeral.

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