Dying alone and unnoticed in 21st Century Ireland

The Gardaí found them alone, lifeless in an upstairs bedroom. They had lain there for days without a family member or friend to hold their hand in their final hours; without a doctor to ease their pain, or a single living soul to announce their tragic departure from this world. Yes folks, while their neighbours and the rest of the busy Dublin suburb where they’d lived for most of their lives hurried, bustled and carried on regardless; two elderly brothers, both of whom were unable to communicate and had, according to reports, been forced to endure being targeted by thugs ‘throwing stones from the canal bank’ breaking their windows, silently departed this realm. How absolutely wretched and cataclysmic is that? I’m in tears writing this column; the solitude of these men’s deaths wearing heavily on me. 

  It’s a gruesome and heart-breaking fact that vulnerable, elderly people are dying alone and unnoticed in Ireland; many taking their last breaths, isolated and terrified, in an unwatched struggle.

  Daniel and William McCarthy; two ordinary names of two ordinary men; giving no hints as to who they were in life or what paths they may have taken. Giving us no clue as to who they might have loved or who might have loved them back.

  According to a report in the Irish Times, their ‘next door neighbour on the terrace for 25 years,’ said she “didn’t even know their full names.” Well she knows them now doesn’t she! The entire country knows them now. And I have to ask…how the hell could this woman, or anyone living on that road, have lived next door to two men for a quarter of a century and not know their names? Men, whom, because of their disabilities, were unable to communicate, rendering them vulnerable and doomed to die alone.

  Last week, the Gardaí, upon being alerted by concerned friends, climbed a ladder, shone a torch and made the grim discovery; uncovering the secret that lay buried inside the lonely house situated in busy Millrose Estate in Bluebell.   

  Neighbours were only alerted to the goings-on when the lifeless bodies of the gentlemen were being zipped into body bags and removed to the city morgue where, we are told, it’s believed no foul play occurred, with reports that ‘one brother  had died several weeks ago and his sibling, who was dependent on him, perished last weekend.’

  I know people are busy and worried they’ll be accused of being nosey; it happened to me some years ago when, having not seen my elderly neighbour, (a retired professional who lived alone), for some days, I pounded down his door, I called his name, I rang his phone; I got no answer. I looked in the downstairs window…the radio was on, the telly was blaring, but no sign of him. I got our ladder; I climbed it, I peeked in the bedroom window and I don’t know who got the bigger shock…me due to the sight I saw or himself due to his, ahem, predicament…if ya get my drift! Suffice it to say he was very much alive but he was, er, indisposed! Scarla’ or wha’ but, embarrassment and screaming aside (mostly mine), he was okay and I got him to hospital and made it my business to continue to check on him and pestered him ‘till he agreed to Home Help.  

  Look, we’re all entitled to live our lives as we wish, unhindered and quietly; but it appears that when one of the McCarthy men died, the other poor soul was unable to look after himself and that to me sounds like this tragic gentleman, powerless to alert another human being, died in the most bleak and anguished manner imaginable; and no matter how much someone wishes to live in isolation, I’m certain they don’t expect to end their days in this inhumane manner and will absolutely welcome an intervention, even if it’s a simple “hello, how are you doing?”

  The tragic demise of these men has closed a door on their lives; but it has also opened another one; one that tells us it’s disturbingly possible to breathe one’s last in anonymity in Ireland. We all deserve to live and die with dignity. Please folks, as the winter rolls in, keep an eye on each other.  

Wishing Kerry and kiddies all the best

Dealing with a bipolar disorder, multiple marriage breakdowns, bankruptcy and drug addiction, Kerry Katona has done it all, and I’ve expressed concern for her rollercoaster behaviour in previous columns; this is due to what I’ve read, interviews I’ve watched and mostly based on my own experiences of past meetings with her in relation to my work in TV. 

  However, having watched Kerry and her five kids, two dogs (and their white-carpeted house) on TV3’s ‘Living with Lucy’ last week, I have to say those kids are extremely well behaved, and Kerry seems to have got her life together.  

  I was impressed at how, when their puppy pooed in the garden, Kerry insisted her 16-year-old daughter Molly cleaned up the mess, and took responsibility for her dog. I was also impressed at how Kerry took ownership of her past mistakes.  

  However unfortunately it seems the private life she’d “give anything for,” will continue to evade her as she confessed going to nightclubs and acting like a lout is sadly how she makes her living; how she feeds her kids. It’s clear Kerry loves those kids; it’s also clear that, under her guidance they’re well-mannered and happy; however, what would concern me is, despite the fact she kicked husband George Kay out on his ear amid dramatic, and serious assault claims – (charges were dropped when she withdrew her statement against him) – she has welcomed him back into their lives, saying: “We want a fresh start in our marriage, and I’m giddy about that now. We’re all touchy feely.” I wish Kerry all the best.

Toxic Trump is not the American Dream – he’s a Narcissistic Nightmare!

Toxic, lewd, unhinged, screwed up, barking mad, “Grab ’em by the pu**y,” misogynist Donald Trump’s objectification and disrespect for women is disdainful, derisive and dark.

            However, despite that, this sneering, boastful individual who rates women on their looks with gleeful vulgarity is deemed worthy to be in the running to become the next leader of the most powerful nation in the free world! Scary, isn’t it?

  You see folks, as I exist in the realm of the sane, I believe that when a man (like Trump), and I use the term ‘man’ loosely, is scared of a woman, his uneducated, uncouth, boorish defence will always be to insult and degrade her superior intelligence. Personally I wouldn’t give such a cretinous creep any dominion.

  What I would do however is laugh in his face at his weak, cloying insecurity and lack of perspicacity, because allowing a dope like that any power is tantamount to a stratospheric apocalypse.