Murder-suicide the fifth tragedy to strike the same family
The apparent murder-suicide that claimed the lives of a married couple brings to five the number of tragic deaths within the same family.
Grandmother Marie Quigley (68) suffered a violent death at her home in Hackballcross, Co Louth, before her husband was killed in a traffic collision after driving the wrong way on the M1.
Gardaí believe that James 'Jim' Quigley bludgeoned his wife to death with a lump hammer before being involved in the fatal crash.
Locals say Jim Quigley had suffered mental health issues for a prolonged period, but no motive has yet become apparent for the killing.
Sources say the real reason may never come to light.
More than 20 years ago the couple's son Aidan (9) died in a drowning accident.
Next, Jim Quigley's brother Peter, died in tragic circumstances several years ago.
Last year, the family suffered another loss when Marie's nephew, Terence Beagan Junior, lost his life in a car accident on New Year's Day.
The 43-year-old recording-studio director was killed instantly after being involved in a head on collision at Ballynahaglish, Co Mayo.
The murder-suicide on Monday brings to five the number of tragic deaths the Quigley/Beagan family has had to endure.
The body of Mrs Quigley was found by her son at her home just before 4pm.
Sources said that Kieran Quigley had gone to meet his father at the house in Hackballscross, but instead found the house quiet and the upstairs bedroom locked with the curtains drawn.
He then called his cousin to help him break down the bedroom door, and the pair found the body of Mrs Quigley, who had suffered serious head injuries.
Gardaí were only 200 yards away at the time as they were already approaching the house following the fatal collision on the M1.
Officers had traced the registration plate of Mr Quigley's car to the arrest and were expecting to break the tragic news of the collision to the family.
However, gardaí were stunned to be confronted with a suspicious death in the upstairs bedroom of the property and immediately made a connection between the two scenes.
One garda source said he had "never seen anything like the scene", as Mrs Quigley had suffered horrific head injuries.
Both bodies were taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for post-mortem examinations.
Gardaí confirmed they were treating Mrs Quigley's death as a murder.
The couple are survived by four children - Kieran, who also lives in Hackballscross; Gavin, who lives in Cork; Mark, who is currently in Canada; and Sonya, who lives in Newbridge.
A lifelong neighbour described the couple as "lovely, quiet people."
Door-to-door enquiries and technical examinations were carried out following the tragedy.
Sinn Féin councillor Tomás Sharkey said the family were "well known, with broad connections into different types of community life, local and across the region and into the town of Dundalk.
"Everybody respects the Quigley and Beagan families and that's what makes it such a big shock."
Robin Schiller and Paul Williams