A homeless man in his 50s, who was beaten to death in Cork city, was a talented chef who had bravely battled alcohol addiction without losing his sense of humor or his spirit.
Timothy Hourihane, 53, was murdered in Cork city in the early hours of this morning. He was originally from Bantry in West Cork.
Mr Hourihane gave an interview to the Irish Times on Christmas day in 2017. He attended Penny Dinners in Hanover Street in Cork city for Christmas dinner. The charity provides daily meals for the homeless.
Mr Hourihane said he enjoyed the special meal provided by the River Lee Hotel and was enjoying the Christmas music having just come from mass.
He said: “This is relaxing and I feel safe. This is my happiest day for a long time. Because I went to the church. I came here. People are lovely. ”
Mr Hourihane spoke of his addiction to alcohol and how he had battled through periods of sobriety only to see his life derailed by relapses.
“I stayed off alcohol for a year and a quarter and I was proud of that. At least I am trying. I was on the Simon (Community) floor last evening but we were out at seven this morning. So I am glad to be here. ”
He admitted that he was "going around in circles" looking for accommodation.
Mr Hourihane expressed his sadness at the death of homeless woman Kathleen O'Sullivan (43) who had passed away on the streets of Cork just weeks earlier.
"It has happened to me where I have woken up with a missing trainer. You have to laugh cos you think why they didn't take the two?"
Mr Hourihane said that Caitriona Twomey, who runs Penny Dinners, had "the most beautiful heart in Cork city."
Mr Hourihane was friends with Christina Chalmers of the Helping Cork's Homeless charity and had worked in prestigious restaurants in Britain and had cooked for a number of celebrities.
Ms Chalmers said she was in total shock but wanted the opportunity to pay tribute to Mr Hourihane.
Ms Chalmers said: "I'm lost for words. He was the warmest kindest man. He never caused anyone any hassle. He was so kind to other homeless people. He was great fun."
She added: "He served Elton John and Lionel Richie. He loved his food. We would go to the Market Lane restaurant with him sometimes and he knew his food and dressed well for going there.
"I want him to be remembered for who he was. He watched out for vulnerable homeless people. My family all loved him. We are devastated."
The Bishop of Cork & Ross, Bishop Fintan Gavin expressed his support for the family and friends of Mr Hourihane:
"The tragic news has reached us in Lourdes where a pilgrimage from Cork & Ross is praying at Our Lady’s Shrine.
"I want to assure the man's family and his friends, and all who knew him, that our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time.
"May Our Lady of Lourdes reach out with healing and peace to all."