Son learns of tragedy after leaving for Oz

By Cormac O’Keeffe, Joe McCabe and Claire O’Sullivan - Saturday, September 07, 2013

Patricia Kierans’ son, Shane, had just disembarked from a plane to London, the first stopover on his long journey to Australia, when the crushing news came that his mother had been found dead in the family home in Co Cavan.

Within hours, the 22- year-old was back in Ireland, standing in the family living room, stunned as neighbours and friends lined up to shake his hand and offer their sympathies. Just days earlier, they’d slapped his back and wished him well with his new life down under.

Over the weekend, he’ll be joined in the family home by his brothers Oliver and Gerard and sister Julie, who all grabbed the next available flights to Ireland when they heard the shocking news. They’d all been looking forward to welcoming their baby brother to Australia, little expecting that they would instead reunite in Bailieborough to bury their mother.

In the town’s Main St, only one subject was on people’s lips. How could such a terrible thing happen here?

Fr Oliver O’Reilly, a close friend of Patricia Kierans, said that her children were "totally devastated".

He said he knew the deceased "very well" and he was "shocked and dismayed" by her murder. He also said he had known she was "in danger for some time".

He added: "It’s her four adult children I’d be concerned about. There are three in Australia and the other was on his way when it happened. I know they have been informed and are totally devastated.

"My thoughts and prayers are with them. They face such a sad, long journey home."

As the hearse carrying Ms Kierans’ remains slowly pulled away from 31 Drumbannon yesterday, groups of neighbours stood together, some cupping their hands to their faces and shedding tears as the hearse passed.

All day, teams of gardaí called to every house in Drumbannon as they tried to piece together the events that led to the death of Ms Kierans and the nine-hour siege that followed.

It has emerged that gardaí forced their way into the house via the back door before finding her body. It is understood Ms Kierans sustained injuries consistent with an assault, as well as gunshot wounds.

A family friend said last night: "This is so hard to take in. Patty was a lady. What happened here is very sad. Four young people will now have to come home from Australia for a very sad funeral indeed."


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