Workers who discovered a hand grenade at a house in south Co Dublin on Wednesday morning discovered decomposed human remains after the property was made safe and they were allowed to return there.
The remains discovered are believed to be those of an elderly man who lived at the house in Sallynoggin but who had not been heard from for a prolonged period. Gardaí are trying to establish if he died during a period of lockdown last year and if remains lay undiscovered for a year or more, as they suspect.
The man who lived in the house has been described as a hoarder who did not mix with others in the community.
Gardaí were called to the property on Sallynoggin Road on Wednesday morning when council staff carrying out clearing works at the house discovered a hand grenade.
The area was sealed off and when Army bomb disposal experts were called in they took the device, which dated from the War of Independence and was viable, to a nearby park and destroyed it.
Once the house and surrounding scene was declared safe, the council workers went back into the property and resumed their work. However, not long after they had resumed clearing the property, which was in a state of disrepair, they found decomposed human remains.
Gardaí were alerted again. The remains were examined in situ by a pathologist before being removed for a postmortem. Gardaí do not believe foul play was a factor in the man’s death.
While gardaí strongly suspect the remains are those of the man who lived alone at the property, DNA testing and dental records were being used to confirm the dead man’s identity. Gardaí are also speaking to local people in a bid to determine when they last saw or heard from the dead man.
While investigations are at an early stage, gardaí suspect the man may have died 12 months ago, possibly more. His remains were found when the council’s efforts to contact him were not successful and they suspected the house had been abandoned and so went to clear it.
In reply to queries from The Irish Times on Thursday night Garda Headquarters said gardaí in Dún Laoghaire were investigating “all the circumstances in relation to the discovery of a body at a house on Sallynoggin Road Lower” on Wednesday afternoon.
“At approximately 12:25pm, the body of a male was discovered at a house. Gardaí attended the scene and the body was removed from the scene to the Dublin City Mortuary, where a postmortem took place today, the results of which are not being released for operational reasons. A file is now being prepared for the coroners court.”