'incomprehensible' Mourners told man killed by his father and brother in Kanturk shooting was highly respected and well-liked
A TRAINEE solicitor shot and killed by his father and younger brother in a murder-double suicide sparked by the inheritance of a €2m farm was hailed as a highly thought of young man whose future life was supposed to be packed full of possibilities.
The tribute came as hundreds attended the Requiem Mass of Mark O'Sullivan (25) in Kanturk, Co Cork with the mourners led by his heartbroken mother, Anne O'Sullivan (60).
The devastated mother of two, a highly respected local nurse, has been battling serious ill health over recent times.
Her eldest son, Mark, a trainee solicitor, was shot up to seven times early last Monday in the bedroom of his north Cork home in what Gardaí fear was a carefully premeditated attack by his father, Tadg O'Sullivan (59), and his younger brother, Diarmuid O'Sullivan (23).
Minutes after the fatal shooting, Tadg and Diarmuid walked to a field 600 metres from the Assolas farmhouse outside Kanturk and took their own lives.
They deliberately did not target Anne - and left a detailed personal note, found by Diarmuid's body, which was marked for her attention.
Anne had to run to a neighbour's house to desperately raise the alarm because her mobile phone had been taken from her.
Both Tadg and Diarmuid died minutes before Gardaí arrived at the scene - and the three deaths were only discovered after a massive critical incident response by Gardaí including 100 personnel and members of the armed Regional Support Unit, elite Emergency Response Unit and three helicopters.
Detectives fear the triple killing was sparked by a bitter feud over a family will and a 115 acre farm inheritance worth around €2m.
Mark's Requiem Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated 24 hours after his father and younger brother were buried together following a separate funeral in Castlemagner.
Kanturk Parish Priest Canon Toby Bluitt said the entire community was left devastated by the scale of the heartbreaking tragedy.
"The shock, the numbness, the devastation, was impossible to imagine and the unfolding news of the loss of three lives was incomprehensible," he said.
"Grief is never an easy burden to bear - and never more so than when it comes to us in what can only be described as an untimely, shocking and tragic way.
"At times like this, to quote from Jesuit Father John Reese, 'a priest does not come down the mountain like Moses … with inspiration from God. Just like all of you, I too am struggling to make sense of this life changing tragedy.'"
Canon Bluitt said Mark was very highly respected young man and liked within the community.
"Mark attended school in Ballyhass and Kanturk like his younger brother Diarmuid and also socialised in Castlemagner.
"He studied law at the University of Limerick (UL), graduating in 2017. He was a trainee solicitor preparing to complete his final exams.
"UL paid tribute to him this week and underlined the shock felt within the UL community where Mark was highly thought of.
"One would imagine that life was full of possibilities for him. One could also say that Mark touched many people’s lives along the way as he journeyed through life.
"His life and death 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 these three lives by trying to provide easy answers.
"Because there are no answers."
The O'Sullivan family had requested donations, in lieu of flowers, to the Jack and Jill Foundation.
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.
Mark died in a hail of gunfire when attacked in his bedroom at 6.40am on Monday.
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, Tadg 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.
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.
Tadg 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 Tadg and Diarmuid died from single gunshot wounds to the head sustained at close range.