Family of man whose skeletal remains were found in Mallow house are ‘heartbroken’ but ‘relieved’

Tim O’Sullivan’s family happy that question that has ‘haunted’ them for years about his whereabouts has been resolved and that he can be laid to rest

The family of a man whose body lay undiscovered in his home in Mallow in North Cork for over 20 years have spoken of their sadness at learning he had passed away and they revealed that they had made multiple efforts over the years to try to find him.

The family of Tim O’Sullivan issued a statement in which they said they had been haunted by Mr O’Sullivan’s disappearance from his home on Beecher Street in Mallow sometime in the early 2000s but had never ceased trying to find him.

Mr O’Sullivan is survived by his siblings, Maureen, Noreen and Pat, and the family said in their statement that their worst nightmare was confirmed on Tuesday when gardaí contacted them to inform them that the skeletal remains found in the house in Mallow were those of their brother.

“We, the family of Timothy O’Sullivan, would like to state that, while we are heartbroken and very upset at the circumstances of our brother’s death, we are simultaneously relieved and happy that the ultimate question that has haunted us for many years about his whereabouts and circumstances has been resolved and we, as a family, can now lay him to rest with his family as is his right.”


“Timothy was born in 1939 in England. He worked as a compositor in a printing works in the UK and was a very bright, intelligent and able man and came to Kerry often on his holidays with his wife. He purchased a house in Mallow and moved there later in his life when his marriage broke down.”

Mr O’Sullivan was described by locals on Beecher Street in Mallow as a very private and reclusive person and said people thought he might have returned to the UK or gone into hospital for treatment for depression when they no longer saw him around the place, but the family have addressed this issue.

“Reports have been made in the media in recent days that Tim struggled with his mental health but really it was more a case of man with a broken heart, who wished for privacy and time to be alone to come to terms with his separation, as was his right,” said the family.

And they also revealed that while the Ireland of 25 years ago was not like the Ireland of today with mobile phones and messaging apps, Mr O’Sullivan kept in regular contact with all of his family, including his late brother, Denis, before they lost touch with him.

“He spoke about returning to the UK again, but nothing was set in stone. However, then after a while, communication with Tim ceased. His family made every effort to locate him, they visited the house in Mallow several times but had no method of access without breaking and entering.

“It was reported to the authorities, who said that the matter was looked into thoroughly, that there was nobody living in the house and that from investigations made locally, it was certain he had returned to the UK and that was where the family should continue to search,” they said.

The O’Sullivan family told how their long-held hopes that their brother might still be alive were dashed on Tuesday when gardaí confirmed via dental records held by a local dentist in Mallow who had treated Mr O’Sullivan that the remains found in the house were his.

“Our family had always hoped and prayed that Tim was alive and happy but unfortunately all those hopes were dashed on Tuesday last when we heard of his passing,” said the family as they appealed to the media for privacy at this difficult time for them.

They said they were asking for “time to grieve our Tim in, what for us, is an ultimate worst case scenario situation and give us time and afford us the opportunity to grieve the loss of Tim and to come to terms with the whole situation. It is not a time for recrimination, we merely want to lay our Timothy to rest in peace.”

The Garda press office has been contacted by The Irish Times for a comment in relation to the family’s assertion that they contacted the authorities and were advised that Mr O’Sullivan’s disappearance had been investigated thoroughly and gardaí were certain he had returned to the UK.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times