Three people have died in an apparent murder-suicide on a farm in north Co Cork.
Gardaí were alerted to the shooting incident at Assolas near Kanturk – which has left a father (late 50s) and his two sons (aged in their 20s) dead – at around 6.30am on Monday when an emergency call was received from neighbours who said a woman had stated that firearms had been discharged in her home.
“Gardaí were informed that three males were present in the house, and that one male may have suffered from gunshot wounds,” a Garda spokesman said.
It is understood that the shootings are related to a dispute over a will and the future inheritance of a 150-acre farm that had been simmering recently. Gardaí say they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.
Detectives believe that one of the sons and his mother returned to the family home after some time away on Sunday night and that this man was later shot in his bedroom. The woman managed to flee the house and went to a neighbour to raise the alarm.
As gardaí approached the isolated farmhouse they were informed that further shots had been heard. They immediately set up a cordon around the property and requested back up.
Armed Emergency Response Unit members from Cork were deployed and ambulance personnel were sent to the scene. A garda negotiator was put on standby.
Gardaí knew the family had three licensed firearms at the house – two rifles and one double barrel shotgun – so they did not try to enter the property.
A Garda spokesman said that negotiators unsuccessfully attempted to make contact with any persons in the house throughout the morning.
Shortly after 12.30pm, Armed Support Unit members from Dublin entered the property and found one of the younger men dead in the house. He had sustained a gun shot wound and was alone in the house.
Outhouses beside the farmhouse where searched and the Garda Air Support Unit was deployed as well as the North Cork Divisional Search Team, who began searching fields around the farm.
The Air Support Unit spotted two bodies at about 1.45pm in fields near the property and found the bodies of the father and other son, who appared to have suffered gunshot wounds, and two firearms.
A Garda source described the incident as “a terrible tragedy” and said the force was not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident. The investigation is at an early stage with forensic examination of a number of scenes yet to be carried out.
The services of the State Pathologist’s Office as well as Garda technical and ballistics experts have also been requested.
A Garda Family Liaison Officer has been appointed to assist the woman, who was being comforted by friends and neighbours on Monday afternoon.
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact Mallow Garda station on (022) 31450, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any garda station.