Tralee’s main Rath Cemetery remains sealed off today as gardaí comb a significant area around graves and tombstones after an attack in which a Killarney man lost his life and a number of others were injured.
Gardaí investigating the incident have arrested two men in connection with the fatal attack.
The first arrest took place outside Cork University Hospital in the early hours of this morning after a man presented with injuries.
The man, aged in his 30s, is currently being detained at Tralee Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act. He can be held for 24 hours when he will have to be charged or released.
A second arrest was made this afternoon when a man, aged in his early 40s, was arrested in Cork city.
The man was also taken to Tralee Garda Station where he is currently being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.
The fatal assault occurred during a funeral in Rath cemetery in Tralee where Thomas Dooley, 44, of Ballyspillane, a father of seven suffered “horrific” injuries. His wife, Siobhan, also suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
A sickle and other weapons were later recovered.
Mr Dooley was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance personnel. His body was taken to University Hospital Kerry, which is located just across the road.
A post-mortem will be carried out by Dr Sally Anne Collis at University Hospital Kerry today.
The results of the postmortem will determine the course of the garda investigation, but all the resources of a murder probe have been dedicated to the investigation so far.
The couple had been attending the funeral of mother-of-five, Bridget O'Brien, who died suddenly on Sunday.
There was a large crowd of mourners in the cemetery when the attack happened shortly after 11am.
Investigating gardaí said they are trying to establish a motive for the attack while community leaders have appealed for calm.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee described it as an “absolutely appalling attack”.
“I can’t say much more than that. My condolences to this man and his family, but unfortunately it’s an ongoing investigation. It’s a live investigation,” Ms McEntee said on Thursday.
“I trust the gardaí will do the job here and obviously that there will be justice for the family.”
Rath cemetery has been the setting for previous outbreaks of violence.
In November 2014, around 30 people also from the Cork/Kerry Traveller community were involved in an outbreak involving machetes, slash hooks, and other similar implements brought to the scene.
Kerry County Council has advised the public Rath Cemetery will remain closed today.
Gardaí are continuing to appeal for witnesses to come forward and for any person with camera footage to make it available to them.
Anyone with information regarding the yesterday's incident is asked to contact the incident room at Tralee Garda Station on 066 710 2300, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.
The investigation is ongoing and further updates will follow.