Family seeks answers over care of farmer who took his life hours after hospital release

Family Seeks Answers Over Care Of Farmer Who Took His Life Hours After Hospital Release Family Seeks Answers Over Care Of Farmer Who Took His Life Hours After Hospital Release
The inquest has been adjourned until January to allow the HSE respond to the questions raised by the family. Photo: File image.
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Gordon Deegan

A Co Clare family is seeking answers from the HSE concerning the care it provided to a west Clare man who took his own life hours after being released from hospital.

An inquest in Ennis has heard that on the afternoon of December 17th last, the body of the 56-year-old farmer was found by neighbours in the shed on his lands between Miltown Malbay and Lahinch.

The discovery was made only hours after the man was released from Ennis Hospital at around 4am.

The previous day, the man had phoned ambulance control to say that he was feeling suicidal.

Visibly upset

In a sworn deposition at the Clare Coroner’s Court, Garda Bríd Troy of Ennistymon Garda station said that she arrived at the home of the man on December 16th in response to the ambulance call.


Garda Troy received the call at 1.50pm concerning the man and on arrival at his home, said that the man was seated at the kitchen table.

She said: “He was visibly upset and stated that he was not in a good place and needed help.”

She continued: “He informed me that he had been suffering from depression and had taken paracetamol.”

Garda Troy told the inquest that when an ambulance arrived, the man “went voluntarily with the ambulance to University Hospital Limerick and seemed happy to do so”.

The following day, neighbours were alerted at around 2.45pm after the partner of the man of 16 years found a note on the kitchen table at their home saying ‘you will find me over at the shed’.

Vulnerable position

In a sworn deposition by a sister of the deceased, she stated that she believes that a number of factors contributed to their brother’s death.

On behalf of the family, the woman’s deposition at the inquest listed that the man was not being admitted to the bed that was secured for him by Limerick HSE; that the man was released alone from Ennis Hospital at approximately 4am on a cold winter’s night and that the failure to contact his stated next of kin at the time of his release left the man in a very vulnerable position.


The woman asked did the individuals who treated their brother on that night implement the HSE policy of care to a suicidal patient.

She stated: “Our family fails to understand why Ennis HSE refuses to provide us with the timeline of events that happened that night whereas Limerick HSE handed over all records that night to the (named man’s) stated next of kin.”

The woman stated that “the failure of Ennis HSE to do so has left us with unanswered questions which has prevented us from going through the normal grieving process”.

She said “it is our hope that this forum will help us get the information we seek to help prevent a re-occurrence into the future”.

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In response, Clare Co coroner Isobel O’Dea told the woman that “it is very important” that the family has raised these issues.

Ms O’Dea said that she had no option but to adjourn the inquest to January to allow the HSE respond to the questions raised by the family.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can freephone the Samaritans 24 hours a day for confidential support at 116 123 or email

You can also freephone the national Bereavement Support Line run by the HSE and Irish Hospice Foundation at 1800 80 70 77 (Monday-Friday 10am-1pm), and the contact information for a range of mental health supports is available at

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