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'Unanswered questions' No motive yet as community in Kerry shaken by O'Sullivan family murder-suicide

  • Eileen O’Sullivan and son Jamie appear to have been shot dead before Eileen's partner, Mossie O’Sullivan took his own life.

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The scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry. Jamie O'Sullivan (inset)

The scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry. Jamie O'Sullivan (inset)

Jamie O'Sullivan was found dead in his bed

Jamie O'Sullivan was found dead in his bed

Photo By : Domnick Walsh

Photo By : Domnick Walsh

Three people died in the suspected murder suicide Image: Google Maps

Three people died in the suspected murder suicide Image: Google Maps

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The scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry. Jamie O'Sullivan (inset)

Gardaí have yet to establish a motive for the Kerry murder-suicide that has left three family members dead.

Named locally as Eileen O’Sullivan (56) and her son Jamie (24) both appeared to have been shot dead before Eileen's partner, Mossie O’Sullivan (63) took his own life.

Speaking to reporters today, Superintendent Paul Kennedy of Listowel Garda station said the family were well-regarded and private.

He said: “This is a very decent, well-respected family who were not known to us and were very well regarded in the community.

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Gardaí at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide in Kerry Photo: Dominick Walsh

Gardaí at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide in Kerry Photo: Dominick Walsh

Gardaí at the scene of a suspected murder-suicide in Kerry Photo: Dominick Walsh

"At the moment we don’t have a motive and we are appealing to people in the community that have any information to come forward to us.”

Supt Kennedy said a local man who was a neighbour and friend of the family had discovered the bodies and contacted gardaí at around 8.30pm yesterday.

He said gardaí are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident and confirmed that a legally held firearm was found on the premises.

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Jamie O'Sullivan was found dead in his bed

Jamie O'Sullivan was found dead in his bed

Jamie O'Sullivan was found dead in his bed

“A family liaison officer has been appointed to the extended families of the deceased and An Garda Síochána will support the families during this personal tragedy for them,” he said.

“An Garda Síochána is also appealing for privacy for the families at this time.”

Supt Kennedy said locals were shocked by events.

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“Obviously in a close-knit community of this nature it is impacting on them profusely and I suppose that is in the light that we have a lot of unanswered questions in an incident of this nature,” he said.

He said that gardaí had not visited the address for any reason in the recent past and that he had “no knowledge of anyone in the days preceding that would have contacted us” who had expressed concern for any family members.

Supt Kennedy could not say if there had been any notes found at the scene.

“I am not going to confirm anything at this time as you can appreciate,” he said. “Our technical bureau only arrived a short time earlier so we are at the very early stages of investigating the scene itself.”

Eileen O’Sullivan and her son Jamie were discovered in their beds, and Eileen’s partner Mossie was discovered to the rear of the house.

The community in Lixnaw are shocked and horrified at the news that broke last night and this morning of a double murder suicide in the community.

The family are well-known in the community and have been described as "gentle, lovely people”.

The alarm was raised by a neighbour who called to the family’s home outside the village of Lixnaw, in the north of the county, at around 9pm yesterday evening.

They discovered the lifeless body of Eileen inside the house and immediately raised the alarm.

Gardaí raced to the scene and found her son Jamie who was aged in his 20s, also inside the house. A short time later gardaí located the body of Mossie outside at the rear of the house.

All three bodies had sustained gunshot wounds.

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Photo By : Domnick Walsh

Photo By : Domnick Walsh

Photo By : Domnick Walsh

A firearm was recovered at the scene and is due to undergo ballistic testing.

Gardaí said they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident at this time.

The scene at the rural house was sealed off and preserved as investigators awaited the arrival of the State Pathologist and members of the Garda Technical Bureau.

Post-mortem examinations are expected to be carried out later today on the three bodies that have been transferred to University Hospital Kerry in Tralee.

Gardaí in Listowel are leading the investigation and an incident room has been established.

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Three people died in the suspected murder suicide Image: Google Maps

Three people died in the suspected murder suicide Image: Google Maps

Three people died in the suspected murder suicide Image: Google Maps

Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Jimmy Moloney, said that all of North Kerry is shocked by the news that has arrived at their doorsteps.

"You read about these things in newspapers, but you never think it will come to your own parish.

"It is a terrible tragedy. There is a real sense of shock and sadness in the community. It is hard to get your head around what has happened. Our sympathy is with their entire family, their neighbours and the wider community in Lixnaw at this difficult time."

Cllr Aoife Thornton, who knows the O’Sullivan family well and is from the area, said that everybody is shocked at the events that have unfolded in the rural tight knit community.

"The entire community is gripped with shock at the horrific news that came to our doors last night and this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved," she said.

Fr Anthony O'Sullivan, parish priest from Lixnaw, told Newstalk: "I was called at 11.15pm to a scene and went into prayers.

"There's a great sense of numbness, disbelief this happened, I feel the same way.

"Words fail me… how to comprehend how I feel.”

Fr O'Sullivan added he hadn't seen the family members since the pandemic.

Justice Minister Heather Humphreys today offered her condolences.

“My deepest sympathies to all impacted by the truly awful tragedy in Lixnaw,” she said.

“The shock and devastation being felt by the family and the community is unimaginable.

“An Garda Síochána is engaging with the local community and will carry out a full investigation.”

Helplines: If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, click here for more information

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