Pair pulled from river died from drowning, inquest told

Two people who availed of Cork’s homeless services before their bodies were recovered from the River Lee died from drowning.

The bodies of Michelle O’Riordan, 27, who was originally from Lagan Grove, Mayfield, in Cork, and Patrick O’Driscoll, 53, originally from Marsh Rd, Skibbereen in West Cork, were taken from the river on December 14 last, a few days after they were reported missing.

Both bodies were recovered within minutes and yards of each other, close to where the north and south channels of Lee converge at the Port of Cork.

A joint inquest into their deaths was opened and adjourned at Cork City Coroner’s Court yesterday where evidence of identification and the cause of death was heard.

Assistant state pathologist Dr Margot Bolster said the identify of both bodies, in the water for several days, had been confirmed by dental records. Autopsies showed the cause of death in each case as acute cardio respiratory failure due to drowning.

Inspector Declan O’Sullivan said a garda file was nearing completion and will be forwarded to the DPP for consideration.

He was granted an adjournment pending instructions from the DPP’s office. The joint inquest will be mentioned again in September.

Ms O’Riordan and Mr O’Driscoll were last seen in each other’s company in the Anderson’s Quay, Custom House Quay area of the city on December 4.

Both had been using the services of homeless agencies before their disappearance.

Ms O’Riordan was reported missing by her family just four days before her body was finally recovered.

Speaking at the time, her mother Rita said her family tried everything they could to save Michelle from a life on the streets. Her daughter had been told she could stay with either parent, but chose not to.

“She made a choice to live this way,” Rita said. “We, her family and her friends, tried everything but she wouldn’t listen to us. We’re just heartbroken.”

In her death notice, her family requested that donations be made to the Cork Simon Community.


Louisa Earls is a manager at Books Upstairs, D’Olier St, Dublin, which is owned by her father, Maurice Earls.Virus response writes a new chapter for Books Upstairs

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