THE grieving family of the woman who died from suspected gas poisoning in a Cork hotel are now preparing to break the news to her older sister, who was found slumped beside her.
Miriam Reidy (35), from Limerick, is thought to have been killed by carbon monoxide gas that leaked into her room at the Trident Hotel in Kinsale on Sunday.
Her sister Patricia (37), who lives in Dublin, was rushed to Cork University Hospital in a critical condition, but has now regained consciousness.
The Reidy family now face the terrible task of telling her that Miriam, an Allied Irish Banks official based in Killarney, Co Kerry, is dead.
The sisters were part of a group who were were at a hen party for their cousin Marie Reidy before tragedy struck. Marie is due to get married in five weeks.
The sisters had been staying in a bedroom located above the boiler room, and above them was a couple who also complained of feeling sick over the weekend.
Today, the hotel remained closed until further notice while inspectors, including specially recruited British engineering experts, identify the source of the gas leak.
It also emerged that two fellow hen party guests of the sisters are lucky to be alive after only returning to their bedroom near the Reidys at 6am last Sunday.
While both were hospitalised, the fact they were in their bedroom for five hours less than the Reidy sisters meant they avoided a more serious level of carbon-monoxide poisoning.
But Patrice Reidy -- a cousin of the victim -- and Marie Shaughnessy were still struck down with symptoms of gas poisoning, including nausea, dizziness, breathing difficulties and headaches.
They were treated in the Mercy University Hospital. Both are expected to make full recoveries.
Patricia is making a slow recovery after fighting for life after desperately trying to help her unconscious sister in the bedroom they shared.
The Dublin-based financial worker had been in a critical condition in Cork University Hospital (CUH) for 24 hours before her condition finally stabilised on Monday night.
However, she will remain in hospital for some time as doctors try and establish whether she sustained any long-term neurological damage from breathing the poisonous gas.
Today her parents John and Josephine Reidy from Ballyhahill, Co Limerick, were bracing themselves for the task of breaking the news to Patricia that her sister was dead.
The sisters had attended a gala dinner in the White Lady Hotel on Saturday night with almost 30 female friends and relatives -- and had returned to the Trident at 12.30am.
A post mortem examination has been conducted on Miriam -- but it will be at least a week before the results of detailed toxicology tests are available.
A garda source confirmed that these tests will be crucial in confirming whether, as suspected, the tragedy was caused by a lethal build-up of carbon-monoxide.