Family who suffered past tragedies left in shock by deaths of couple

When Jim and Marie Quigley moved from Dundalk to its rural environs, they named their new home after their son who tragically drowned as a child.

Family who suffered past tragedies left in shock by deaths of couple

Now, San Aidene (Saint Aidan) is at the centre of another appalling family tragedy, after Marie, aged 68, was subjected to a fatal assault there on Monday afternoon.

Sources said that Marie (née Beagan) had been “bludgeoned” to the head and gardaí are satisfied her death came at the hands of her husband.

A short time later, Jim, aged 69, ended his own life when he drove down the wrong side of the M1 motorway and swerved into the side of an oncoming truck.

Gardai said it was fortunate that more lives weren’t lost at the scene on the Dublin-Belfast motorway. Three passengers in a vehicle on the other side of the truck suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The murder-suicide has devastated the Quigley and Beagan families, not least the couple’s four surviving children.

In a statement last night, the Quigley and Beagan families asked for privacy at this trying time.

“We would ask all media outlets to respect our privacy and let us grieve our parents,” they said. “We would like to thank our extended family and friends for their continued thoughts and prayers.”

Yesterday, the flag at the local GAA club, Kilkerley Emmets, flew at half mast.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Tomas Sharkey said the gesture was a “quiet, humble expression” of people’s emotions. “It’s an indication from us that everyone’s hearts are at half mast and everyone is feeling for the family,” he said.

Jim’s brother Johnny played football there and is a mainstay at the club, while another brother, Peter, now deceased, was also prominent there.

Peter ran a successful oil business in Dundalk town, where Jim worked for years as a driver. Peter took his own life in January 2006 and this hit Mr Quigley badly, it is thought.

Gardaí have begun talking to extended family members in a bid to unravel Jim’s actions.

It emerged yesterday that he had struggled with mental health problems and had spent periods of time receiving treatment in hospital.

However, garda sources said that this in itself, does not explain his actions and will investigate all issues, including any domestic disagreements between the couple or any financial issues.

While gardaí are satisfied that the two deaths are linked, they are conducting separate investigations at the moment.

Gardaí were alerted to the collision on the M1 between junction 14 and 15 at 2pm. A Ford Fusion, which was driven by Mr Quigley, had driven southbound on the northbound carriageway.

Mr Quigley was travelling down the hard shoulder and passed traffic coming against him.

“We suspect he was looking for a truck to drive into,” one garda source said.

Mr Quigley found one —swerved his car into the side of a passing truck.

Gardaí went to the man’s home in Kilkerley to inform his family, upon which they learned that one of the couple’s sons — Kieran, who lives locally — had found his mother’s body.

Gardaí found her body inside San Aidene at 3.45pm.

In the 1980s, the couple suffered an appalling tragedy when Aidan, aged nine, drowned in a swimming pool in Dundalk.

They moved from Glenwood in Dundalk to a house on the Newry Rd, before moving to Mr Quigley’s home village in the early 1990s.

The large detached house is a short walk from the family home Mr Quigley grew up in. A brother, Patsy, now deceased, lived there. A sister — Mary Connolly — lives next door to San Aidene.

Johnny, the youngest brother, also lives on the same road and runs an oil business.

“Generations of the Quigleys have lived here,” said a local source. “They are very widely known.”

The couple have three surviving boys — Kieran, Gavin, who lives in Cork, and Mark, who lives in Canada — and a daughter Sonya, who lives in Kildare.

Gavin, the youngest and an aircraft engineer, only married a number of months ago.

Ms Quigley had worked in her father’s business, Beagan’s Customs Clearance, in Dundalk.

One man who knew the couple well said Mr Quigley was “nervous”, but an “honest-to-goodness person”.

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