Brothers William and Daniel died in their home in Dublin. Family photo

A funeral mass was held for two elderly brothers found dead in their home, last Tuesday.

The mass, at Deaf Village, a resource center for the hard of hearing in Cabra, Dublin, was attended by 200 mourners, led by the brothers’ friends, the Nealon and Monaghan families, gathered in the chapel before the “ultra-quiet” funeral mass. Following the mass the borthers were moved to their native Dingle for burial, last Sunday.

William had been a carer for Daniel. According to reports William had died first leaving Daniel uncertain about what to do. It is believed that Daniel lived at the house with the body of his brother for several weeks before he himself died.<

The Irish Deaf Society said the deaths of the brothers revealed the “devastating effects of social isolation for senior citizens and for the senior deaf community in Ireland.” Loneliness was a key factor they said.

The Deaf Village, released a two-page statement on behalf of the brothers’ friends.

The Deaf Village, Cabra.

The Deaf Village, Cabra.

The statement recalled William (76) who was known as “Liam,” and Daniel (73) came from Dingle “at a late age” to be educated at St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys in Cabra.

They started work as shoemakers after leaving school and then moved on to the Lucas factory making car batteries. There were periods of unemployment when the factory closed and they received assistance form the he National Rehabilitation Board and the National Association for the Deaf.

The brothers lived together in their home in Millrose estate, Bluebell, west Dublin, for 35 years.

The statement said the brothers were “very humble characters.” The brothers very private people and Daniel in particular chose to have only limited contact with the wider deaf community.

The statement concluded with the hope that the Liam and Daniel “move on to a new chapter” where they will “be at peace and together forever more.”

Andy Connolly, a neighbour who is involved in the local residents' association, told the PA "It's a terribly sad situation. There is deep shock locally.
"The problems that they had communicating, maybe they just didn't fall into the neighbourhood like everyone else. Maybe both sides saw it as a difficulty.

"But you'd wonder whether the whole thing should be brought into question about what kind of support or help had they.

"There are a number of elderly people in the estate and the attention that they get from neighbours is second to none, but in this case there was a sense of isolation."

Chief Executive of the Alone charity, which supports older people in their homes, Sean Moynihan said "We are asking all older people not to be afraid to ask for help if they are feeling isolated or lonely. It is very easy to become cut off from your local community."

He continued "I don't think that people are aware just how devastating loneliness can be for your general health.

"Not only can loneliness lead to depression, but it is also a predictor for dementia, cardiovascular disease and decreased immune system response. Loneliness is twice as dangerous to the health of an older person as obesity, and is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day."

Read more: A sad true tale of isolation in rural Ireland, depression and suicide