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Friday 24 November 2017

Tragic deaths of deaf brothers 'shows effects of social isolation'

Brothers Daniel (left) and William McCarthy (right) were much respected neighbours
Brothers Daniel (left) and William McCarthy (right) were much respected neighbours
A Garda car outside a house in Bluebell, Dublin, where brothers Daniel and William McCarthy were found dead in their home. Photo: PA

Luke Byrne and Conor Feehan

The deaths of two brothers at home is a reminder of the "devastating effects" of social isolation, according to the Irish Deaf Society.

Locals in the quiet west Dublin estate where brothers William and Daniel McCarthy were discovered dead in their home are still trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

Daniel and William McCarthy Photo: Deaf Heritage Centre
Daniel and William McCarthy Photo: Deaf Heritage Centre

A single bouquet of flowers was left outside their house in Milrose Estate in Bluebell yesterday afternoon, as a Garda kept watch over the property where the siblings, who were both in their seventies, had remained undiscovered for days.

Gardaí from Kilmainham have launched an investigation after the remains were discovered on Tuesday.

Officers were alerted after locals became concerned that they had not seen the pair for a number of days. One man is believed to have been dead for some time.

Neighbours said the pair would receive some regular visitors and suggested they may have had the help of a HSE carer.

The HSE declined to confirm this, but in a statement said it would like to offer "sincere sympathy to the McCarthy family at this time".

It has emerged that both men were active members of the community at Deaf Village Ireland in Cabra, where they were regulars at the Mass for the deaf said by Fr Gerard Tyrrell.

The Irish Deaf Society has extended its condolences to the McCarthy family and their many friends in the deaf community. "Their deaths have highlighted the devastating effects of social isolation for senior citizens and for the senior deaf community. Social isolation for the deaf community can happen due to the lack of accessible services in Irish sign language for the deaf community in general," it said.

Eddie Redmond, CEO of the group, urged people to contact the society if they knew of anyone who was deaf and in need of help.

"We are disheartened to hear this very sad news ... both gentlemen were members of the deaf community," he said.

Local woman Lorna Curly described the incident as "an awful tragedy" and said both men were pleasant but kept to themselves.

"You would see them out. One of them walked and sometimes cycled and the other drove a car. You would see them coming and going from the house," she added.

Lorraine McDermot said she remembered how one time, one of the brothers called to her house to let her know she had left the window open after she had gone to bed.

"They were very good. I remember the night we heard a knocking on the door and my husband came down.

"He was pointing at the window to let us know we had left it open."

It is understood Daniel had been a carer for his younger brother William.

Justin Moran, head of advocacy and communications with Age Action Ireland, said what happened to the brothers was heart-breaking.

"It's a reminder to all of us that people can become isolated anywhere," he said.

"When we talk about social exclusion, we tend to think of it more in rural areas, where someone is living well outside of town, but this tragedy in a busy Dublin community like Bluebell shows it can happen in our big cities."

Mr Moran said the group always encourages neighbours to check in on people.

Irish Independent

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