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Covid inquests adjourned until next June

News

ADJOURNMENT Coroner for Mayo, Patrick O’Connor.

Over 60 potential witnesses identified to give evidence in Carolan and Maaz inquests

Anton McNulty

TWO inquests into the deaths of two people who died in Mayo University Hospital after contracting Covid-19 have been adjourned until next June.
Leaving Cert student Sally Maaz (17) of Carrowreagh, Ballyhaunis, and John ‘Jackie’ Carolan (79) of Ballymunnelly, Bellacorrick, both died earlier this year after they contracted Covid-19 while patients of Mayo University Hospital.
The preliminary inquests into their deaths were opened in October and adjourned until last week, December 1 for updates on how the preparation of medical reports and witness statements were proceeding.
In relation to the inquest of John Carolan, Coroner for Mayo Patrick O’Connor said that because of the ‘multiplicity’ of witnesses and statements that will be required from the hospital and ongoing investigations, he would adjourn the inquest until June 21, 2021, with the venue and time to be determined.
Mr O‘Connor explained he was informed that the Carolan family had instructed David O’Malley of Callan Tansey Solicitors to represent them, and both Mr O’Malley and Ms Ruth Finnerty, solicitor for the HSE and the hospital staff, have agreed to the adjournment.
“I suspect the next occasion  there will be lengthy preliminary hearing to determine the witnesses that will attend. I am conscious there could be up to two dozen witnesses from the hospital which will be required and that will be extremely difficult in the current circumstances,” he said.
There was a similar adjournment in the inquest of Ms Maaz, with Mr O’Connor explaining that the hospital inquiry is ongoing and there would be a number of witnesses. He added he has received correspondence from Johan Verbruggan, of Callan Tansey Solicitors, on behalf of the Maaz family, and Padraig Brennan on behalf of the HSE and the hospital staff.
He explained that the list of witnesses has not been finalised, but that ultimately he would decide which witnesses will attend.
Mr O’Connor said Ms Maaz’s inquests will proceed without a jury, he and adjourned her inquest to June 21, 2021, with the location and time to be decided.
Ms Maaz was receiving treatment for a heart defect in Mayo University Hospital when she died on April 24, and concern was raised at the time about how she contracted Covid-19.
Mr Carolan was admitted to Mayo University Hosital following a stroke on March 18 and subsequently contracted the virus and passed away on April 1. His daughter, Teresa Shaw, believes that too little was done to prevent the coronavirus spreading in the hospital.