Homeless women who died in Cork was grieving her son

Kathleen O’Sullivan was found dead outside the homeless shelter on Anderson’s Quay

Kathleen O’Sullivan: it is understood her aunt also died on the streets of Cork city seven years ago

Kathleen O’Sullivan: it is understood her aunt also died on the streets of Cork city seven years ago

 

A homeless woman who died on the streets of Cork city earlier this week was a warm and empathetic person who sought help for a fellow rough sleeper who was experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Kathleen O’Sullivan was found dead outside the homeless shelter on Anderson’s Quay at about 11am on Wednesday.

Ms O’Sullivan, who is originally from Togher in the city, was huddled under blankets on the ground. Her death is not being treated as suspicious.

Christina Chalmers, founder of Helping Cork’s Homeless, said Ms O’Sullivan (43) had a “big heart.”

“Kathleen was gentle, kind and caring. One particular time she was sharing a room with another girl in the homeless shelter who had mental health issues. This girl had suicidal thoughts.

“Kathleen would call me at night and say ‘can you talk to her because she is threatening to throw herself over the bridge?’ She was very upset about it and called me on numerous occasions. So while she was homeless herself she was still nurturing this girl and mothering her.”

Gardaí on Lower Oliver Plunkett street near the Anderson’s Quay emergency shelter, where Kathleen O’Sullivan was found dead. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision
Gardaí on Lower Oliver Plunkett street near the Anderson’s Quay emergency shelter, where Kathleen O’Sullivan was found dead. Photograph: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

Ms Chalmers said Ms O’Sullivan had suffered the loss of a child in recent years and was in the grieving process. She was on the streets for a number of years and had emphysema and pleurisy in addition to other health issues.

It is understood Ms O’Sullivan’s aunt also died on the streets of Cork city seven years ago. Ms Chalmers said it was terrible to see the family revisit a familiar tragedy.

“I spoke yesterday to Kathleen’s cousin who is also a homeless service user. Her mother is the lady who died in a doorway seven years ago. And it has happened to her family again.”