Terminal cancer patient shoots himself in Limerick hospital chapel

Shock as man from East Limerick, who had cancer diagnosis, dies after handgun is discharged in church

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Terminal cancer patient shoots himself in Limerick hospital chapel

Gardai at the scene in University Hospital Limerick

GARDAI are continuing their investigations after a man, who faced a terminal illness, walked into the chapel attached the University Hospital Limerick and shot himself on Wednesday afternoon.

The Limerick Leader understands that the man in his 60s, who is believed to be from east Limerick, was attending UHL for an appointment before 3pm, having earlier received a terminal diagnosis of cancer.

As he approached the entrance to the hospital, he turned back, didn’t attend his scheduled appointment and went into the chapel alone.

He was found – with a wound to his chest – by a member of the public who attended the church a short time later.

It is understood that the deceased, who worked as a handyman, repairing household appliances and restoring antique furniture, had separated from his former partner, and has four children – one daughter and three sons – who live locally.

More than 20 gardai attended the scene, including ballistics experts and forensics experts.

Gardai are seeking to establish whether the firearm – said to be a small handgun – was legally held.

The firearm found near the man's body will be sent to Garda Headquarters in Dublin for ballistic examinations. 

Gardai will also be examining CCTV footage from the hospital, but do not suspect foul play.

Family of the deceased were called to the scene, where gardai blocked the public from entering from a number of entry points, and redirected traffic away from the area.

Tight security was also maintained around the area for a number of hours.

The scene was preserved and a post-mortem examination is to be carried out on the man's body.

Sinn Fein deputy Maurice Quinlivan said that it was a “sad and shocking” incident.

“I don’t know the full circumstances but my deepest sympathies go out to the family. Obviously the staff at UHL are already under enormous pressure, and for anyone working in the emergency services this must have been a very difficult situation to face,” he told the Limerick Leader.

A hospital spokesperson declined to comment when contacted, saying it was a matter for the gardai.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Aware on 1800 80 48 48 or the Samaritans (116 123). In addition, the website yourmentalhealth.ie lists mental health supports and services by county.