Sister’s heartache over homeless woman’s death in Belfast

Floral tributes left at the scene where Catherine Kennys body was found on Saturday morning
Floral tributes left at the scene where Catherine Kennys body was found on Saturday morning

The sister of a woman found dead on a Belfast city centre street at the weekend has spoken candidly of a life blighted by alcohol, drugs and homelessness.

Catherine Kenny, 32, was discovered in the doorway of a shop in Donegall Place on Saturday morning.

Ms Kenny is the fifth homeless person to die on the streets of the city since the start of the year.

Lee-Maria Kenny-Hughes has described how her sister began dabbling in soft drugs, including cannabis, in her teens before addiction problems gripped her “with a vengeance”.

Ms Kenny-Hughes said: “We have had a very long and intense battle with Catherine and her addiction to alcohol and drugs. We have been dealing with it probably since Catherine was about 16.

“They took hold of her and we knew, we heard it in her voice.

“We talked to her every day. There was no getting through to her. No matter what we offered her, no matter what we suggested, no matter what encouragement we gave her.

“We told her we loved her – she knew we loved her – but it was never enough,” she told the Nolan radio show yesterday.

“I’m devastated, heartbroken, robbed. Robbed of an amazing young girl, who absolutely would have helped the lowest in society. ‘Let me help you’ – that was her motto,” Ms Kenny-Hughes added.

Ms Kenny-Hughes posted a message on Facebook, thanking volunteers from the Hope Outreach organisation for their compassion.

“I for one can never repay you for your generosity towards her,” she said.

A funeral service for Ms Kenny will take place at St Patrick’s chapel Downpatrick at 9am on Wednesday.