Gardaí are set to launch a murder investigation after an 89-year-old patient was allegedly beaten to death in a Cork Hospital.
Matthew Healy, a retired farmer from Berrings, was discovered dead in a ward at Mercy Hospital in Cork in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Gardaí suspect he was beaten to death by another patient who was in the same hospital as him.
READ MORE: Man, 89, killed in Mercy University Hospital in Cork buried his wife weeks ago with locals 'devastated' by attack horror
A suspect in his 30s was arrested by gardaí who were alerted to the scene at around 5:30 am.
Mr. Healy, a father of four, had only recently lost his wife Delia, who died on January 2.
It is understood that officers do not believe there was any prior connection between the victim and the attacker - and no motive has been established for the attack.
Gardaí are understood to be awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination but are set to launch a murder probe over Mr. Healy’s shocking death.
In a statement, gardaí confirmed that a man in his 30s had been arrested and taken to Bridewell Garda Station in Cork.
"The scene is currently preserved for forensic and technical examination. An incident room has been established at the Bridewell Garda Station and the services of the State Pathologist have been requested,” a garda spokesperson said.
Gardaí also said that a family liaison officer has been appointed and that the family of the deceased has been notified.
“Investigating gardaí are not currently seeking anyone else in relation to this incident,” the spokesperson added.
Mr. Healy was well known within the community of Berrings and is survived by his two sons and his daughter.
His wife Delia Healy died in hospital earlier this month, while one of his daughters died a number of years ago.
And speaking to this paper, local councilor Michael Looney described Mr. Healy as a “gentleman,” who was well-known and loved in the community.
“He was just a thorough, thorough gentleman. He was respected both inside and outside of the community.
“He certainly didn’t deserve what he got.
“Certainly whatever happened in there he wouldn’t have been the instigator of it, I can tell you that anyway.”
Cllr Looney said the deceased man had only recently lost his wife and said the entire community in Berrings is devastated over his shocking death.
“He lost his wife about three weeks ago. It’s a very sad occasion.
“He was a highly respected gentleman and we here in Berrings are devastated really. In a hospital, you think you’re in the safest place in the world.
“You certainly wouldn’t expect that to happen in a hospital,” he said.
When contacted a spokesperson for the HSE said it could not comment on the matter as there is a “live garda investigation,” and referred this paper to the Garda press office.
However, in its own statement, the Mercy University Hospital in Cork said that management and staff were "saddened and shocked at the tragic and unexpected death of an elderly patient in an incident at the hospital."
A hospital spokesperson expressed their deepest condolences to the man's family, relatives, and friends.
The spokesperson added that counselling services were being provided to patients and staff affected by the incident.
Also speaking to this paper Deirdre Forde, the Lord Mayor of Cork, said the entire county will be in shock over the news.
“It’s very sad news this morning and we are all devastated to hear it.
“It’s just dreadful for that poor man’s family and friends. To go into a hospital when you’re unwell and you hope to improve and come out healthier, and to have this happen is beyond imagination.
“At the same time, I believe such an incident as this will force hospitals to reevaluate their situations.
“The whole of Cork will be shocked to hear about this incident.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to those involved and to the staff, the nurses, and doctors at Mercy Hospital who must be traumatised by this incident.”
A spokesperson for the INMO said they were not commenting on the incident, but the organisation had been in contact with the hospital and will provide support to any members affected by the situation.
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