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Tragic deaths Inquest into deaths of three members of O'Sullivan family on Kanturk farm is delayed

Mark O'Sullivan (25) was apparently shot by his father, Tadg (59) and younger brother, Diarmuid (23), in a tragic confrontation at their Kanturk home

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Anne O’Sullivan (middle) is consoled at the funeral of her son Mark in St Mary's church, Kanturk, Co Cork last year before she died in April. Photo: David Conachy.

Anne O’Sullivan (middle) is consoled at the funeral of her son Mark in St Mary's church, Kanturk, Co Cork last year before she died in April. Photo: David Conachy.

Diarmuid O'Sullivan

Diarmuid O'Sullivan

Tadg O'Sullivan

Tadg O'Sullivan

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Anne O’Sullivan (middle) is consoled at the funeral of her son Mark in St Mary's church, Kanturk, Co Cork last year before she died in April. Photo: David Conachy.

A CORONER'S inquest into the deaths of three members of a farm family after a suspected murder-double suicide has been postponed because of logistical issues over the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Mark O'Sullivan (25) was apparently shot by his father, Tadg (59) and younger brother, Diarmuid (23), in a tragic confrontation at their Kanturk home in north Cork over a disputed €2m will.

Both Tadg and Diarmuid then died minutes later in a field near a fairy fort just metres from the farmhouse.

The mother who lost her husband and two sons to the horrific murder-double suicide died last April having been diagnosed with a serious illness before the tragedy unfolded.

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Mark O'Sullivan

Mark O'Sullivan

Mark O'Sullivan

Anne O'Sullivan (61) was already battling a long-term health condition when the tragedy occurred at the farmhouse outside Kanturk last October, wiping out her entire immediate family.

Mrs O'Sullivan died just days after she had turned 61.

She had been very ill in the weeks before her death and had been cared for at a hospice.

The North Cork Coroner was scheduled to open the inquests into the deaths of Tadg, Mark and Diarmuid on July 7 in Mallow but this has been postponed to an unspecified future date.

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Diarmuid O'Sullivan

Diarmuid O'Sullivan

Diarmuid O'Sullivan

Logistical issues over staging the inquests given the current pandemic restrictions are understood to have been involved.

In the early hours of October 26, Tadg and Diarmuid apparently confronted Mark in the bedroom of the family home outside Kanturk in north Cork.

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Mark died after being shot multiple times.

Anne, who was also in the farmhouse, was left unharmed by her husband and youngest son though they took her mobile phone – forcing her to run to a neighbour's house to raise the alarm.

Mark was later found dead in his bedroom by gardaí.

The bodies of his father and younger brother were located by gardaí some 600 metres from the farmhouse off the Castlemagner-Kanturk road. Both had sustained a single fatal gunshot injury and were found at a field known as 'The Fort', adjacent to an old fairy fort.

Two rifles were found nearby.

Three legally held firearms in total were recovered by gardaí from both scenes – two rifles and a shotgun.

The triple tragedy was sparked by a bitter dispute over a family will which apparently would have seen Mark inherit a substantial local farm holding of more than 140 acres.

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The family farm near Kanturk, Co Cork

The family farm near Kanturk, Co Cork

The family farm near Kanturk, Co Cork

In contrast, his younger brother apparently felt he was excluded from any significant inheritance – and was supported by his father.

Attempts to resolve the dispute failed and Mark was confronted by his father and younger brother amid mounting tensions over the impasse.

Documentation in respect of the dispute was found near the bodies of Tadg and Diarmuid – and legal letters were found by gardaí at the property itself.

All documentation is now expected to feature at the future inquest.

Mrs O'Sullivan had only returned to the Assolas farmhouse some 36 hours before the tragedy, having travelled to a medical appointment in Dublin with her eldest son.

The mother of two – who worked for years as a nurse at Mt Alvernia Hospital outside Mallow – attended both the requiem mass of Tadg and Diarmuid and later the requiem mass of her son, Mark.

She passed away just six months later.

Mark, a trainee solicitor, was hailed as "the greatest son a mother could have."

His requiem mass heard that "the bond between them (Anne and Mark) was unbreakable."

"Mark had such a big heart and so much love to give...I can't imagine how much effort and love he put into being Anne's son," his best friend Sharmilla said.

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