An inquest begins this morning (Tuesday) at Swinford Courthouse into the death of Patrick Rowland who drowned after going missing from Mayo University Hospital in the early hours of January 17 last year.

Mr. Rowland (69) was a patient but left the hospital in the early morning hours  and rang one of his sons to collect him in Castlebar.

But when the son arrived a short time later there was no sign of his father.

Patrick Rowland’s body was recovered some days later from the Castlebar River.

The inquest into the Lahardane man’s death, which is being conducted by the Coroner for the District of Mayo, Pat O’Connor, is expected to last three days.

Thirty five witnesses in total are scheduled to give evidence.

The list of witnesses will include a number of Rowland family members.

CCTV footage, both from inside the hospital, and outside which show Mr. Rowland in the general environs of Castlebar before he ended up in the river, has been studied by the coroner.

Mr. O’Connor has told a preliminary inquest hearing that he has viewed all of the CCTV which has been made available and personally visited the location of where Mr. Rowland was last seen before he entered the water.

A number of pre full inquest hearings have been held by Coroner O’Connor over the past year to deal with procedural matters.

At one of those hearings, barrister Roger Murray (Callan Tansey & Co) said Mr. Rowland had serious pneumonia and was being cared for at the hospital where his family was “satisfied he was in the safest place”.

Mr. Murray said the circumstances of how their loved one was allowed to leave hospital was of significant concern to the deceased’s family.

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