Sunday 18 March 2018

'It's such a tragedy' - tributes paid to 'absolute gentleman' (84) who died after fall in snow

The remote farmhouse home of John Mahoney outside Nurney, Co. Carlow. Picture: Gerry Mooney
The remote farmhouse home of John Mahoney outside Nurney, Co. Carlow. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Ian Begley

An elderly man died just metres from his home after falling in the snow.

John Mahony (84) was heard calling for help on Sunday morning after he slipped near the entrance of his home in the rural village of Nurney, Co Carlow.

It's understood Mr Mahony passed away eight hours after he fell.

The cause of death was cardiac arrest.

A local farmhand told a woman walking her dog heard his cries and immediately alerted emergency services.

“I don’t know what he was doing out of his house, but as he was walking down the lane he must have slipped and couldn't get back up.

“He started calling for help and thankfully a dog walker came to his assistance and called an ambulance.

“I don’t think he was lying out in the snow for very long, but to be honest it wouldn’t have taken very long for the freezing temperatures to cause serious damage,” he said.

Mr Mahony, described as a “perfect gentleman”, was rushed to St Luke’s Hospital, in Co Kilkenny, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

It’s understood the cause of death was cardiac arrest.

A local man, who did not want to be named, explained Nurney has seen excessive snowfall over the past number of days.

“It’s thawing out now, but the roads were very bad during the last few days.

“It’s very sad to hear about John, but I knew him as a lovely man who was very intelligent.”

Mr Mahony will be missed by his nieces and nephews who visited him regularly.

News of Mr Mahony’s death came after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he feared people could be found dead in their homes in the aftermath of Storm Emma.

Speaking on ‘Morning Ireland’ on RTÉ Radio 1 yesterday, he said: “That’s my fear. I didn’t intend to cause any undue alarm, but it is a definite possibility in the days ahead as we gain access to homes in some of the areas that have been cut off.”

Carlow councillor Andy Gladney said although Mr Mahony lived alone, he was very well taken care of by his community.

“It’s such a tragedy, but I can confidently say that John was really looked after by his neighbours.

“He had plenty of food in his house and was very well liked – any time he wanted to go out there was always someone happy to give him a lift,” he said.

As news of the tragedy emerged, gardaí renewed their appeal for people to be alert to the needs of others in their community.

“Again we ask the public to please continue to do the good work with checking in on neighbours, particularly the elderly and vulnerable,” said Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid.

The National Emergency Coordination Group (NECG) have been made aware of a number of deaths over recent days, including road traffic accidents, but have not definitively linked any of them to the weather.

Its chairman Sean Hogan said there were “a number of fatalities” everyday, but it was up to gardaí to investigate them as they saw fit.

Irish Independent

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