'impossible to imagine' Local's lives will 'never be the same again' after Kanturk shooting, funeral told
A HEARTBROKEN mother who lost her entire family in a suspected murder-double suicide attended the funeral today of her husband and youngest son who are feared to have killed her eldest son.
Anne O'Sullivan (60) was supported by relatives, one of whom kept an arm gently wrapped around her shoulder, as she went into St Mary's Church in Castlemagner for the Requiem Mass of her husband, Tadg O'Sullivan (59), and her youngest son, Diarmuid (23).
Tadgh and his two sons, Mark O'Sullivan (25) and Diarmuid O'Sullivan (23), died in a triple shooting tragedy outside Kanturk, Co Cork early last Monday morning after an escalating row over a family will and a 115 acre farm inheritance worth around €2m.
Tadgh and Diarmuid are believed to have confronted Mark in his bedroom last Monday morning and shot him before they apparently took their own lives in a field 600 metres away.
Anne, a mother of two and nurse who has been battling serious health problems, was left mourning the heartbreaking loss of her entire family.
Entirely dressed in black, Anne arrived at St Mary's with family and close friends.
Mourners were told the tragedy had cast a black cloud of grief like the darkest hour of Creation over an entire farming community.
The first of two separate funerals took place today - with Tadgh and his younger son, Diarmuid, having their Requiem Mass at St Mary's Church in Castlemagner.
Mark's Requiem Mass will be celebrated separately in Kanturk on Saturday.
Kanturk Parish Priest Canon Toby Bluitt told mourners both Tadgh and Diarmuid touched many people’s lives locally.
"Their lives and deaths have changed you all and you will never be the same again. So today, gathered together in our grief, we do not minimise the loss of their lives by trying to provide easy answers. Because there are no answers."
He said the entire north Cork community was left reeling by the tragedy.
"Grief is never an easy burden to bear – and never more so when it comes to us in what can only be described as an untimely, shocking and tragic way," he said.
"We gather in such grief today – carrying a burden that not only seems to be, but in fact is, overwhelming.
'We gather to comfort and support each other in our common loss. We gather to make sense of the senseless.
"Today’s Gospel from Luke which depicts the Passion of Christ speaks of a darkness coming over the whole world, indeed it seemed like that same darkness, the darkest hour of creation - enveloped the O’Sullivan family and the local community here in Castlemagner over the past number of days.
"The shock, the numbness, the devastation, was impossible to imagine and the unfolding news of the loss of three lives was incomprehensible.
"Just like all of you, I too am struggling to make sense of this life changing tragedy.
"Tadgh O’ Sullivan worked in the motor trade locally for over 40 years. From my own encounters with him, I always found him to be very accommodating, friendly and happy in his chosen field.
'Diarmuid attended school in Ballyhass and Kanturk like his older brother Mark and also socialised in Castlemagner.
"He went on to study Accountancy at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). He finished his studies last June and was due to have his conferring online next week. CIT paid tribute to him and underlined the shock felt within the CIT community at the tragedy."
"One would imagine that life was full of possibilities for him."
Strict Level Five Covid-19 controls were complied with at St Mary's with only a small group of family and friends attending the Requiem Mass.
However, as a mark of respect, local people lined the funeral route as. the cortege travelled to St Brigid's Cemetery in Castlemagner.
The family had asked people not to send flowers but, instead, to consider making a donation to the Cliona Ring Foundation.
Following Requiem Mass, Tadhg and Diarmuid were brought in separate hearses to St Brigid's where they were buried together.
Mark's funeral, which is private and for family members only, will take place at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Saturday.
His family have requested donations, in lieu of flowers, to the Jack and Jill Foundation.
Mark's Requiem Mass will be streamed live at 3.30pm on the Kanturk parish website.
Counselling support services are being made available for people in the community left traumatised by the triple tragedy.
Gardaí are awaiting the results of ballistic and forensic tests which they hope will help them piece together the precise sequence of events that led to the triple tragedy.
Up to seven shots were fired in Mark's bedroom in what Gardaí believe was a carefully premeditated attack.
The young law graduate had injuries to his hands - indicating he had fought for his life and desperately tried to protect himself.
After Mark's shooting, Tadhg and Diarmuid went to a field called 'The Fort' some 600m from the farmhouse where they are suspected to have taken their own lives.
Two rifles - .22 calibre hunting weapons - were found beside their bodies which were lying just two metres apart.
A detailed personal note was found on Diarmuid's body outlining his anguish at the inheritance dispute and the resulting family split.
The note was left for the attention of his mother.
It is believed the lengthy note found by Diarmuid's body was written several hours before the triple shooting - indicating that the attack was fully premeditated.
Elements of the note, which runs to a dozen pages, were described as "very upsetting" by one source.
The family row escalated when details emerged two weeks ago of a proposed will which was seen to favour Mark with the farm inheritance.
However, the disagreement over the farm inheritance dates back almost eight months with legal correspondence about the feud discovered in the farmhouse.
Diarmuid was deeply upset over the proposed terms of the will.
Tadgh was apparently very annoyed at the treatment of his younger son and the failure to reach a compromise over the inheritance.
While gardaí are treating the matter as a criminal investigation, they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
A file will be prepared for the North Cork Coroner with an inquest to be staged next year.
Both Tadgh and Diarmuid died from single gunshot wounds to the head sustained at close range.