Kanturk tragedy | 

'The greatest son a mother could have,' gun victim Mark O'Sullivan's funeral is told

The coffin of Mark O'Sullivan is carried into the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Kanturk, Co Cork, for his funeral service.

Ralph Riegel

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 by his best friend as the greatest son a mother could ever have.

The tribute came as almost 300 people 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 also been taken from her.

Mourners applauded as an emotional tribute was read out at the Requiem Mass by Mark's cousin, Barry Sherlock, on behalf of his college friend, Sharmilla Rahman, who was unable to attend the Mass.

"Mark and I were best friends....Mark was the greatest son a mother could have. I know the bond between them 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."

Sharmilla and Mark were friends from when they first met at the University of Limerick where they were both law students.

"It sparked a great friendship between us. I was drawn to Mark by his kindness, his sense of humour and his ability to make you feel at home."

"A mutual friend said that Mark and I were soul mates. I alway referred to us as best friend but that never seemed quite right - it always felt like it was so much more. That we were meant to be in each other's lives."

"Mark has shown me what a true friendship is. Mark was the most caring and selfless person I have ever met."

"So caring and selfless that he earned the nickname Mother Mark. We always missed each other's company no matter how long we had been apart."

"He was incredibly special to me. The dynamics of our friendship never changed no matter where we were in our lives."

"He embraced my now husband as an extension of myself and made sure he was always cared for. That is who Mark was - his care for others was always his priority."

"I struggle to put into words how strong our friendship was and how amazing Mark was as a person."

"He was charming, funny,caring, kind, selfless, hardworking and honest - intelligent and so, so much more."

"Words cannot describe who Mark was. Anyone who knew him knew they were blessed to have him put into their lives."

Mark's Requiem Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception was celebrated 24 hours after his father and younger brother were buried together at St Brigid's Cemetery following a separate funeral in Castlemagner.

Mark was buried in at St Patrick's Cemetery in a plot for his mother's family.

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 service sare 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 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, 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 out lining 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.

Tadhg 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 Tadhg and Diarmuid died from single gunshot wounds to the head sustained at close range.

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