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Community ‘numb, stunned and devastated’ after triple shooting

The bodies of Tadgh O’Sullivan and his sons Mark and Diarmuid were found on their family farm in Assolas, Kanturk, north-east Co Cork.

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Gardai at the scene (Niall Carson/PA)

Gardai at the scene (Niall Carson/PA)

Gardai at the scene (Niall Carson/PA)

The “tragic” deaths of a father and his two sons in an apparent murder-suicide shooting on their family farm in has left a small Co Cork community “numb, stunned and devastated”, a local priest has said.

The bodies of Tadgh O’Sullivan and his sons Mark and Diarmuid were found on their family farm in Assolas, Kanturk, north-east Co Cork.

The wife and mother of the dead men, Ann O’Sullivan, raised the alarm that firearms may have been discharged at her home on Monday morning.

Gardai initiated their critical firearms incident response, and negotiators attempted to make contact with anyone in the property but the body of one of her sons was found with gunshot wounds shortly after 1pm.

It's awful for families too when people pass away very young. It's very tough on people. It's very difficult for younger people to understand why all these things happenFr John Magner

The bodies of her other son and her husband were found during an aerial search of adjoining land.

She is believed to be staying with neighbours and the family have appealed for privacy.

Fr John Magner said he met Mrs O’Sullivan after attending the scene of the shooting and praying for the three men.

He said she was “absolutely devastated” and that he prayed with her for the strength to cope with her “immense loss”.

“You cannot put words into how she felt,” Fr Magner told RTE’s News At One.

He said the people of Castlemagner parish near Kanturk were “numbed, stunned, devastated” by the deaths.

Fr Magner said it was also devastating for family and friends.

“To find that friends they have are just gone, departing this world so early in life,” he said.

“It’s awful for families too when people pass away very young. It’s very tough on people. It’s very difficult for younger people to understand why all these things happen.”

Diarmuid O’Sullivan had finished his studies at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) in June and was due to be conferred next week with a first-class honours degree in accounting.

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Diarmuid O’Sullivan (Family Handout/PA)

Diarmuid O’Sullivan (Family Handout/PA)

PA

Diarmuid O’Sullivan (Family Handout/PA)

CIT head of student affairs Dan Collins said the entire CIT community was in shock, adding: “There are no words anyone can say to express how people are feeling.

“This tragedy is heart-breaking, and we extend our thoughts and sympathy to his mother Ann. We also keep in our thoughts and prayers his brother Mark and his father Tadgh.

“We are mindful at this time of his friends, classmates and staff of the department of accounting and information systems, as well as the extended family and neighbours.”

Dr Collins said staff described Diarmuid as a young man with promise, who was a hard worker, respected, and held in high regard by staff and students alike.

Paul Gallagher, assistant public relations officer of Castlemagner GAA club, where the brothers used to play at a young age, extended his deepest sympathies to Mrs O’Sullivan and her family on behalf of the club.

Mr Gallagher said it was a “close-knit” community and the family were “very well liked”.

“Normally we’re used to hearing these stories, or watch them on the TV rather than seeing them outside your window,” he told RTE’s Morning Ireland programme.

He said the community would rally around Mrs O’Sullivan to try to help her through this time, but Covid-19 restrictions were making it more difficult.

Local Fianna Fail councillor Pat Hayes said it was a tragedy for the family and said his thoughts, sympathies and prayers go out to them at this very difficult time.

“It has come as a real shock to the community,” he said.

Fine Gael councillor John Paul O’Shea said everyone was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the tragedy.

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