Man whose remains lay undiscovered for 20 years in Cork home is laid to rest

Timothy O’Sullivan’s skeletal remains were found in a derelict house in Mallow almost a week ago

The boarded-up vacant house on Beecher street, Mallow, Co. Cork where Timothy O'Sullivan's body was discovered (Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision)

Our Lady of the Valley Church, Cillín Liath, where Mr O'Sullivan's funeral took place on Wednesday.

The house in Mallow where the body of Mr Timothy O'Sullivan lay undiscovered for more than 20 years.

Sinead KelleherKerryman

The late Timothy O’Sullivan, whose body lay undiscovered in a house in Cork for more than two decades, has finally been laid to rest.

Mr O’Sullivan’s family was joined by friends and relatives for a funeral Mass at Our Lady Of The Valley Church Cillín Liath on Wednesday, and he was laid to rest in the nearby Dromid graveyard.

The Mass was attended by many from the local community who know Mr O’Sullivan’s family, and it was streamed online to allow his sister, Noreen, in Australia and his brother, Pat, in Monaghan – both of whom were unable to travel – to watch the funeral service. It was presided over by Fr Gerard Finucane.

Mr O’Sullivan’s love of music and his talent for banjo were remembered, as was his love of his family and his nieces and nephews, whom he taught to swim. Timothy travelled a lot during his life, but he always loved to come to Dromid and Kerry.

In attendance was his sister, Maureen; his nieces and nephews; and other relatives.

"The family were surrounded by the local community as they laid Timothy to rest,” said Fr Ger Finucane.

"It was a lovely send-off.”

His family had appealed for privacy to allow them to bury their loved one, and their wishes were respected on the day.

Mr O’Sullivan's skeletal remains were found in a derelict house in Mallow almost a week ago. It is believed he died in the early 2000s.

Dental and medical records and documentation in the house helped trace relatives in Kerry, who were shocked at the news that their beloved family member lay dead in the home for more than two decades.

The family had spent years searching for Mr O’Sullivan and were ‘haunted’ by questions of where he was, but they were shocked to discover he had been dead for more than 20 years.

“The family of Timothy O'Sullivan would like to state that while we are heartbroken and very upset at the circumstances of our dear Timothy's death, we are simultaneously relieved and happy that the ultimate question that has haunted us for many years of his whereabouts/circumstances has been resolved and that we as a family can lay him to rest with his family as is his right,” they said in a statement released last week.

The house in Mallow where the body of Mr Timothy O'Sullivan lay undiscovered for more than 20 years.

They said that Timothy O'Sullivan was born in 1939 in England.

He worked as a compositor in a printing works in the UK and was a very bright, intelligent and able man, and he often came to Kerry on holidays with his wife.

He purchased a house in Mallow and moved there later in his life when his marriage broke down.

The family said they did everything they could to find Timothy:

“Ireland at that time was not similar to the Ireland of today where people are in constant contact via messaging apps and mobile phones but Timothy did keep regular contact with all of his family.

" He spoke about returning to the UK again but nothing was set in stone."

However then after awhile, communication from Tim had ceased.

His family made every effort to locate him, they visited his house in Mallow several times but had no method of access (without breaking and entering).

“It was reported to the authorities who said that the matter was looked [into] thoroughly, that there was nobody living in the house and that from investigations made locally, it was certain he had returned to the UK and that was where the family should continue to search,” they said.

“Our family had always hoped and prayed that Tim was alive and happy, but unfortunately all those hopes were dashed on Tuesday last when we heard of his passing.

"All we can do now is respectfully ask the media for privacy and time to grieve our Tim in what for us is an ultimate worst-case scenario situation and give us time to afford us an opportunity to grieve the loss of Tim and to come to terms with the whole situation.

Our Lady of the Valley Church, Cillín Liath, where Mr O'Sullivan's funeral took place on Wednesday.

" It is not a time for recrimination, we merely want to lay our Timothy to rest in peace.”

In the statement the family also said they wished to clarify media statements around his mental health.

"Reports have been made in the media in recent days that Tim struggled with his mental health but really it was more a case of a man with a broken heart who wished for privacy and time to be alone to come to terms with his separation as was his right,” they said.

Mr O’Sullivan purchased the small townhouse property at Beecher Street in Mallow in the early 1990s and moved there from the UK.

Mr O'Sullivan lived in Mallow for around nine years before he vanished without trace in 2001/2002.

He is now believed to have died around that period, given the dates on letters, newspapers and food wrappings found in the property.

His remains were discovered three weeks ago, Friday January 13 when Cork County Council workmen entered the property to conduct an inspection after the council, following a lengthy process, had secured a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

Mr O'Sullivan's skeletal remains were found in a back room of the two-storey property, which had been derelict and boarded up for several years.

The council had sought the CPO after repeated complaints from Beecher Street neighbours about the condition of the property and rodent problems emanating from its back yard.

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