Belfast Telegraph

Leading GAA man (83) who died after alleged hospital assault to be buried

Respected: John O'Reilly
Respected: John O'Reilly

By Gillian Halliday

A highly respected GAA figure who died following an alleged assault in a hospital ward where he was a patient is to be laid to rest today.

John O'Reilly (83), a former chairman of the GAA's Ulster Council, was allegedly attacked on December 4. He died on Tuesday at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, seven days after the alleged incident at the Gillis Memory Centre.

The centre, which cares for patients with dementia, is situated within the Mullinure Health and Wellbeing Centre at St Luke's Hospital in Armagh city.

The PSNI said it was investigating "an assault on a male, aged in his 80s, at the Gillis Unit".

It is understood a file in connection with the incident, involving a male in his 70s, is being prepared for the Public Prosecution Service.

The Southern Trust would not be drawn further on the circumstances of what happened, only to confirm that it was aware of the incident.

"We are co-operating fully with the police investigation into this matter," it said.

"We will be providing no further comment as this investigation is ongoing."

A death notice said Requiem Mass for the father-of-seven from Camlough will take place at noon today at St Malachy's Church in Carrickcruppen.

It said that Mr O'Reilly passed away peacefully surrounded by his devoted family, and described him as the "dearly beloved" husband of Angela and "much-loved" father of Brian (deceased), Frances, Maureen, Deirdre, Garrett, Grainne and Kevin.

Interment will take place in the adjoining cemetery.

The family have requested donations, if desired, to be made to Alzheimer's Society NI.

A huge turnout from the GAA community is expected at the funeral.

Mr O'Reilly served as president of the GAA Ulster Council from 2001-04. He was also a former chairman and honorary president of the Armagh County Board.

He started his GAA career playing for Crossmaglen Rangers.

He also served two terms as club chairman between the 1960s and early 1970s.

As a mark of respect the club announced it would be cancelling its Christmas party celebration.

And in a tweet Crossmaglen Rangers paid tribute to Mr O'Reilly as their "loyal supporter".

Michael Hasson, Ulster GAA president, said: "John was president at a time when Ulster was leading the way on the GAA football fields."

John O'Reilly obituary, Page 20

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