The Coroner for south Mayo has called on public funding to be made available to Mayo Mountain Rescue after hearing that they are called out to a rescue on average 50 times a year.
John O’Dwyer made his comments after hearing the inquest into the death of 62-year-old John Vincent Walsh of Derrygolan, Tullamore, Co Offaly, who died after suffering a heart attack on the top of Croagh Patrick on November 24, 2011.
Mr Walsh was found dead on top of the holy mountain at approximately 11.50am on November 25 after leaving his home in Offaly to climb the mountain the day before. The inquest heard that he travelled to Mayo twice a week to climb Croagh Patrick.
The body was taken from the mountain by Mayo Mountain Rescue and team leader, Mary Walsh, said that 70 per cent of all rescues in Mayo take place on Croagh Patrick. She said that the mountain was busy with climbers all year round, especially in the last number of years. She added that Mayo Mountain Rescue is a voluntary organisation which relied on the generous support of the public.
Mr O’Dwyer commended the work of Mayo Mountain Rescue and said that funding should be available for them.
“I must commend the work of Mayo Mountain Rescue and their volunteers who provide assistance and support to people in the county. They do great work in the community and even in these stringent times some funding should be made available to them,” he said.
The inquest had earlier heard that Mr Walsh had climbed the mountain on November 24 and this was a particular bad day. Ms Walsh said that the deceased was a regular climber and had been wearing waterproofs as what would be recommended.
Dr Fadel Bennani, who conducted the post mortem, said that one of his arteries was 90 per cent blocked and the cause of death was acute myocardial infarction. He also warned that persons with heart or lung problems should consult their GP before climbing as the climb could cause stress to the heart.
Mr O’Dwyer recorded a verdict of accidental death and expressed sympathy to the family of Mr Walsh.
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