Inquest recalls bitter dispute between families

THE funeral of a young mother which divided two families who brought their dispute to a High Court judge has been recalled at an inquest in Limerick.

Kathleen McCarthy O’Reilly, aged 23, was found dead in a shed near the caravan she shared with her husband and two children on May 14 last.

After the body was removed to the Mid Western Regional Hospital her family and her husband’s family would not agree on where she should be buried.

Her family wanted the funeral to take place in Cork but her husband wanted to bury her in Limerick.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne told Kathleen’s parents, Michael and Margaret McCarthy, they would have responsibility for the funeral but would have to arrange separate day-long wakes in Cork and Limerick for both families.

She also directed the headstone should bear the name Kathleen McCarthy O’Reilly. She said the dead woman’s children, aged three and 15 months, should be able to visit and grieve at the grave as they grew older, and should be able to see their mother’s name on it.

After the two wakes, Kathleen was laid to rest on May 20 at Kilcornan cemetery, near Askeaton, Co Limerick.

Timmy O’Reilly, the two children and the extended O’Reilly family were not present for the burial.

The jury at the inquest returned an open verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy said she found a soft ligature around the woman’s neck.

Mr O’Reilly, who has since died, made a statement to gardaí in which he said they had been to a pub the night before and got home at 12.20am. He went to bed and fell asleep straight away. He said he was awoken by a person knocking on the door who told him Kathleen was dead in a shed near the stables.

He said she had been in good form.

Coroner Dr Tony Casey, Inspector Gerry McNamara and the jury foreman extended their sympathy to the dead woman’s children and family.

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