GARDAI are investigating a suspected break-in at the city centre apartment of a deceased Limerick man as he lay in repose across the street at Cross’ funeral home on Saturday night.
The burglary forced a late change in funeral plans for Hubert Fitzpatrick, late of Kileely and Lower Gerald Griffin Street.
It had been intended that he would repose in his flat on Sunday but the removal instead had to take place from Cross’s. Funeral mass at St John’s Cathedral was also delayed over the break-in.
Mourners who arrived at Mr Fitzpatrick’s on Sunday were met with a notice directing them to the nearby funeral home. This was after his residence was ransacked the night before and one line of inquiry in the garda investigation is whether the raider or raiders targeted the property knowing Mr Fitzpatrick - who had been confined to a wheelchair of late - had just passed away.
Kileely-based Cllr Kevin Kiely said Hubert Fitzpatrick, a single man aged in his 50s, was “a well-known and popular figure in Limerick and came from a very respectable family”.
Mr Fitzpatrick was a familiar face in the city centre, having worked for over 35 years as a window cleaner.
He had to give up work, however, after he sustained injuries when falling from a ladder five years ago.
Mr Fitzpatrick told the Limerick Leader at the time that his right leg had never healed fully and he had to have part of the limb amputated after developing gangrene.
He would get around town on an electric bike but was more recently wheelchair-bound. He died suddenly late last week.
Cllr Kiely described last Saturday night’s break-in as “an awful thing for his friends and loved ones to have to deal with when they are already coping with his tragic loss”.
Sean O’Neill, Prospect, said he knew the deceased well and he had been “a very popular man around Limerick”.
Mourners had only learned of the “cold-hearted” break-in on arriving to pay their respects on Sunday.
His flat had been “ransacked while his body was still in the funeral home”, Mr O’Neill said. “His home was so badly damaged that the original intention (to repose at home) had to be cancelled and instead he was laid out in the funeral home.
“This type of crime is a new low in Limerick and it must be tackled before the rule of law breaks down,” he added.