Village in shock after woman is stabbed to death

THE SPECTRE of violent death came calling to a rural, isolated and previously peaceful corner of south Tipperary yesterday.

Joanne Mangan, a popular young woman from the village of Newcastle, was stabbed to death. And while the body of the 20-year-old lay in a morgue at the Regional Hospital in Limerick yesterday afternoon, her 23-year-old brother Eddie was fighting for his life at Cork University Hospital, the prayers of the community with him and the Mangan family.

From an ordinary family of farming stock, the Mangans are well respected around Newcastle and beyond. Joanne, Eddie and their seven siblings all attended national school locally, as well as secondary school in Clonmel.

“I used to see Joanne coming in here to Mass,” said Newcastle parish priest Fr Francis Lloyd outside the local church yesterday. “I’m only here about 12 months myself, but I would have known the family from coming to Mass. They’re country people, nice people and you couldn’t say a bad thing about them.”

Fr Lloyd described family members as “devastated”.

The family home at Middlequarter, Newcastle, in the shadow of the Knockmealdown Mountains which straddle part of the Tipperary/Waterford border, was deserted yesterday as grief-stricken relatives travelled to Cork to be with Eddie as he battled critical injuries sustained in the knife attack early yesterday morning, a few miles away.

Residents around Newcastle were reluctant to talk about the shocking incident, but their parish priest said that the devastation was “palpable” around the village.

“It’s a close-knit country community and not used to this sort of thing. It would be a complete shock. The biggest thing of all is the thoughts for the family. The loss of a daughter, and now they’re hoping and praying that Eddie himself will recover.”

Fianna Fáil TD Mattie McGrath, a resident of Newcastle, described the violent events as “a terrible tragedy” and spoke of his respect for the entire Mangan family.

“The community is totally gutted and they’re rallying around as best they can,” he said yesterday. “You hear these things in a lot of cases, but when it’s so close to home, it’s terrible.”

Joanne and Eddie were renting the renovated cottage at Ballynamudagh, Grange, in recent months. Joanne formerly worked at Coyle’s Coffee Shop at the Marystone Centre in Clonmel but hadn’t been there for some time and, according to management, the current staff didn’t know her that well.

Eddie was employed locally as a block-layer and many of the family worked in the building industry.

Their parents, Brendan and Helen Mangan, were farmers although Brendan — aged in his 60s — worked for a while in a Community Employment Scheme in Newcastle.

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