“I want my brother back,” were the devastated words of a sister of Derek McDonagh, who was stabbed outside his parents’ home in Tullamore yesterday.
Up to a hundred members of the extended McDonagh family gathered around the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore yesterday in the hours following the horrific death of the father-of-one at Arden View, resulting in a disruption of services there for a time.
Neighbours and friends of Mr McDonagh, with an address is Callery Street, Tullamore, Co Offaly, say the 27-year-old and his family were quiet, respectable people. He is one of 10 siblings.
Residents of Arden View are shocked by the events which unfolded in the estate between 9am and 11.30am.
One neighbour was woken by a row near the home of parents, Anthony and Teresa McDonagh, at around 9am. At 11am, there was more noise and up to 10 men with weapons including a spade and pick axe were seen.
The neighbour, who did not want to be named because of fear of reprisals in the area, heard the words “I’ll kill you”. Shortly afterwards, a blood-soaked man was seen on the residential street, just a couple of hundred yards away from a busy primary school.
Gardaí are examining CCTV footage taken from the Arden View Resource Centre, directly opposite where the attack happened, and are questioning residents about what is understood to have been a vicious assault, though it is not clear who the intended victim was.
It’s understood a number of people were involved in the incident on both sides, and gardaí are not divulging who attacked whom, but they are following a definite line of inquiry.
Superintendent John Moloney said the incident was not part of a feud, but “arose out of something simple”. It is understood there was a dispute between two families that may have sparked the evening before and gardaí have arrested three people, one of whom required medical treatment following the assault.
Noel Connolly, chair of the Arden View Resource Centre, said people in the area were shocked by the incident.
He described the McDonagh family as “quiet people. You’d never hear a word out of them”.
People in the area were “devastated” by the incident, he said and added that he hoped that there would be no reprisals.
Another neighbour hugged her grandchild in her arms as she said she would be scared of what might happen next. “You would be scared. You begin to think is anything else going to come after this.”
A mobile home at Kilcruttin halting site was set on fire last evening, but it is understood to have been unoccupied at the time.
There is a significant garda presence in the Offaly town, including members of the Regional Response Unit.
A postmortem was due to be carried out by state pathologist Marie Cassidy last night.