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Timmy is fondly remembered in his native Kilcrohane

October 21st, 2019 1:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Timmy Hourihane posed for photographer John Finn just a few days before his death.

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KILCROHANE’S Timmy Hourihane, who was found murdered near the burned-out tent he had been living in, has been remembered as humorous and handsome.

The death of the trained chef has caused widespread shock and outrage and prompted renewed calls for action to be taken on the city’s housing crisis. 

Senator Denis O’Donovan, who is a native of Kilcrohane, expressed his solidarity with the family, who lived less than half a mile from the family home he grew up in on the Goat’s Path Rd on the Sheep’s Head peninsula.

‘We went to the same national school, but at different times,’ Sen O’Donovan said of Timmy Hourihane (53), who was found close to his burning tent at 12.45am at Mardyke Walk on Sunday morning. He was in an unconscious state with injuries to his head and body and was taken to CUH, where he subsequently died.

Timmy had trained as a chef and worked with the Hilton hotel group in the UK, but came back to Ireland when his marriage ended. He later developed an addiction to alcohol following the death of his partner, Michael, from cancer.

Sen O’Donovan said he remembered the teenage Timmy as ‘a handsome young man, who was naturally outgoing but came from a very reserved family.’

He said Timmy’s tragic death has left him, and all of the community, feeling personally saddened. ‘The Hourihane family were always excellent neighbours,’ he added, ‘and now their neighbours will rally round them and support them as friends.’

Carrigtowhill-based photographer John Finn who randomly took what’s likely to be the last photograph of Timmy on Thursday, October 10th, also spoke to The Southern Star.

John Finn said he didn’t know if he was doing the right thing by sharing the photograph on social media, but the response to the cheeky, charming image has been overwhelmingly positive. It was Timmy who had playfully offered to pose for the photographer who was doing a commercial shoot at Castle Street in Cork. 

‘He struck me as a humorous guy. He was very well spoken as well, and well dressed. He certainly didn’t fit the caricature a lot of people have of a homeless person,’ said John. 

‘I took the few shots and as he was leaving, he said, “I am Tim Hourihane from Bantry.”’ The photographer said his parting line is what stayed with him when he heard the news on Sunday.

‘When the name was released I had this spooky feeling,’ said John, who initially hesitated about publishing the photograph because he didn’t want to appear exploitative. But people who knew Timmy responded warmly, saying: ‘You captured his essence.’

So far, the garda investigation team have conducted more than 50 interviews as part of the murder investigation. A trained family liaison officer from Bantry is assisting an investigation team at Anglesea Street in Cork, following the murder.

Caitriona Twomey, who runs the Penny Dinners in Cork, has also spoken out about Timmy’s tragic death. She said she felt compelled to make a plea to An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar to ‘step in and do something because we are losing too many people.’

She said: ‘There are too many people on our streets. We have been talking about this for years and telling the government that something needs to be done.

‘What happened over the weekend has caused untold grief for a family, and untold grief among the homeless community – not just the rough sleepers, we are also talking about the people who  are in B&Bs and hotels, the families. Very little is being done and now we know we are going to lose more people because of the government’s lack of interest.’

There are an estimated 30 homeless people living in tents at Mardyke Walk, which is, by all accounts, a near permanently waterlogged field that is off the beaten track but close to the services in the city.

The position of homeless people who live in the tented community there has been described as precarious. Timmy had previously spoken about being attacked three times on the streets of Cork. And it is believed he may have been assaulted on Saturday but did not receive treatment for his injuries. 

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