'Murder-suicide' victims' injured son gets life-saving surgery

Tom Fitzgerald and wife Kitty died in a suspected murder-suicide in the rural area of Knockadoon
Tom Fitzgerald and wife Kitty died in a suspected murder-suicide in the rural area of Knockadoon

A man who suffered severe head injuries when his parents died in a suspected murder- suicide is recovering after life-saving surgery.

Paul Fitzgerald (37) was rushed to hospital after he was found seriously injured at his family's home in Mayo on Tuesday afternoon.

His father Tom (75) and mother Kitty (72) died in a suspected murder-suicide in the rural area of Knockadoon, on the outskirts of the village of Irishtown.

Paul was transferred from hospital in Galway to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin that night owing to the severity of his head injuries.

He is understood to have undergone surgery on Wednesday afternoon and sources close to the family said the operation was a success.

It is suspected that Tom and Kitty died in a murder-suicide. Post-mortem examinations were carried out on their remains yesterday.

A close friend of the Fitzgerald family said they were still reeling from the tragedy.

The family are understood to be struggling to come to terms with Paul's injuries and the manner of Tom and Kitty's deaths.

However, it is also understood that they are now attempting to focus much of their efforts on Paul and his well-being.

The bodies of both Tom and Kitty were removed from the rural property on Wednesday afternoon.

Their bodies were accompanied by family members as the hearse rolled down the laneway opposite the family's isolated home.

It is understood that Paul, who was adopted, wasn't living in the family home at the time and had accommodation in Galway.

State pathologist Marie Cassidy conducted post-mortem examinations of the bodies at Mayo University Hospital yesterday afternoon.

Gardaí believe the results will provide them with a much clearer idea of when and how the couple died, and give more direction to their investigation.

Garda forensics examined the scene extensively throughout Wednesday before the bodies were removed.

However, the technical bureau returned to the scene yesterday morning and completed their forensic investigation.

The road leading up to the Fitzgeralds' home remains sealed off by gardaí and is expected to stay that way until tonight at the earliest.

The tragedy has left the whole area of Irishtown in a state of shock, given Tom and Kitty's prominence in community and parish events.

The Irishtown Community Development group, of which Tom was a director, are understood to have held a members meeting on Wednesday night in order to devise a plan for how the community can come together.

A local source said the family would be offered all possible help in the lead-up to funeral arrangements and beyond.

Funeral plans have not yet been arranged however, with Carey's Funeral Homes in the nearby village of Ballindine understood to be waiting on the post-mortem results before it can fully liaise with the family over any specific dates or times.

Local councillor Richard Finn, who lives nearby, said the whole situation had become very difficult for anyone to contemplate. However, he added that there was a lot of second guessing at the moment from locals without the full story being known.

"It's a tragic, tragic situation," he said. "Irishtown is a historic village, it's the home of the Land League and Michael Davitt.

"It's a vibrant little place and it wouldn't have seen anything like that, no more than most other places."