Gardaí begin review of protocols in wake of Kanturk murder-suicide

Jury at inquest of Tadg, Mark and Diarmuid O'Sullivan called for a review of Garda protocols as it emerged a relative of the murder victim had raised concerns with gardaí about the safety of Mark and his mother Anne
Gardaí begin review of protocols in wake of Kanturk murder-suicide

Tadgh, Mark and Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who died in a shooting in a remote part of Kanturk in North Cork. Picture: Gardaí

Gardaí have begun a review of how they handle concerns raised by members of the public about people who have access to guns.

It follows a recommendation from a jury who examined the circumstances leading up to the deaths of three men from the same family – Tadg, Mark and Diarmuid O’Sullivan –  at a farmhouse at Raheen, near Kanturk in North Cork, last October.

The inquest jury found that Tadg, 60, and Diarmuid, 23, took their own lives and they found that 26-year-old Mark, who was shot seven times, was unlawfully killed by his brother and father. 

The jury called for a review of Garda protocols as it emerged that concerns had been raised with gardaí prior to the murder-suicide. 

Third-party concerns

Gardaí were urged to assess how they deal with third-party concerns about the potential for violence. 

Gardaí have only just received the exact wording of the jury's recommendation, which came at the end of the inquest at Mallow Coroner’s Court in front of Coroner Dr Michael Kennedy on August 4.

A spokesperson for the gardaí confirmed the review is now under way.

“An Garda Síochána has received a copy of the written verdict in this case and the matter is currently under review by An Garda Síochána."

An inquest into the deaths heard that a relative of the O'Sullivan family told gardaí she was “extremely concerned” about the safety of Mark and his mother Anne.

The jury heard the 61-year-old’s first cousin, Louise Sherlock, went to see gardaí on October 13.

She said later in a statement: “I told [gardaí] I was extremely concerned about Anne and Mark's safety and that I needed advice.” 

Bizarre encounter

She then said she mentioned a bizarre encounter with Tadg and Diarmuid on the previous Friday when she was halfway up the road to the O’Sullivan farmhouse, when they stopped in front of her in their van and they both got out.

She told the garda Tadg was “ice-cold, expressionless” and that he told her: “I am looking at you and I am eyeballing you.

“I am not blinking.” 

Then she told the garda: “Diarmuid said this will all be over in a couple of weeks and that there would be a road of carnage."

She says the garda then advised her about protection and barring orders and advised she talk to a lawyer and she was told to make sure she had a copy of the Eircode “should we need to contact gardaí”.

An Garda Síochána policy on domestic violence clearly states that "if a report of domestic abuse is received from a third party, it must be investigated and the appropriate action taken".

The murder-suicide was linked to a dispute over who would inherit the family farm in North Cork and Diarmuid and Tadg had been planning the murder for at least a couple of days, the inquest heard.

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