Inquest into death of Priory Hall resident hears of stress
Partner of Fiachra Daly says his death came ‘completely out of the blue’
Stephanie Meehan and her partner, Fiachra Daly, with their children, Oisín (7) and Cerys (2). ‘He was a very happy, kind person,’ Ms Meehan said.
A Priory Hall resident who took his own life was more stressed than usual about his mortgage at the time, an inquest has heard.
Father of two Fiachra Daly (38) was found dead on July 15th last year in a top floor bedroom at Churchwell Avenue, Belmayne, Dublin 13, the house his family had been living in since November 2011 following their evacuation from Priory Hall.
His partner Stephanie Meehan told the Dublin coroner the weekend of his death had been a normal one.
On the morning of Sunday, July 14th, Mr Daly got up and made breakfast for his family. In the afternoon he went to a hotel to watch a match where he had a few drinks while she went to visit her parents with their kids, she said. He was already at home when they returned to the house and she went to the shop for a bottle of wine. They drank a glass each while they watched television. “He seemed fine,” she said.
At around 10pm, she went to bed while he stayed up. Their son Oisin woke up at 11pm complaining of pains in his legs and she went down to look after him, falling asleep on his bed. Ms Meehan said that she woke up between 8.30am and 9am and called Fiachra on his phone a number of times. She thought he was at work, she told the court. When she opened the blinds in their daughter Cerys’s bedroom she saw his van outside and thought he had slept in. She ran upstairs shouting “Fiachra, you’re late for work” but when she got up to the third floor bedroom, she found him dead.
“I touched his face and it was cold,” she said.
Ms Meehan said that he was not on any medication and had no previous history of depression. No note or letter was found.
“It happened completely out of the blue. Everybody was very surprised. He was a very happy, kind person. Everyone was equally shocked and still, to this day, are shocked,” she said.
On the Sunday evening he was anxious that she should fill out her part of a financial statement for an extension of their mortgage moratorium. They had to do this “constantly”, she said, but he “seemed more stressed about it than usual”.
“We had gotten a letter earlier on in the week from the bank stating that we were €20,000 in arrears and they couldn’t extend our moratorium unless we completed the statement of means. It annoyed Fiachra that we had a mortgage for a house we couldn’t live in,” she said.
At postmortem, the pathologist gave the cause of death as hanging. The toxicology screen found that there was cocaine cut with heart drug Lignocaine and horse worming tablet Levamisole in his system as well as a blood alcohol level of 318 milligrams. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that this was a “very high level” of alcohol.
“When this happened Fiachra was intoxicated with alcohol and cocaine,” he said.
Dr Farrell told the family that because there were drugs and a “high level of alcohol” in Mr Daly’s system, it is not possible to say that he was in his “clear mind” when he took his own life. It was a self-inflicted death, he added, but the question of intention had not been satisfied for a legal verdict of suicide. He returned an open verdict.