Cousin of Tom and Jack Blaine says rumours they kept a lot of cash at home were untrue
Mayo brothers killed 50m from Taoiseach’s constituency office
The scene of double killing of the two brothers Jack and Tom Blaine at New Antrim Street, Castlebar, Co.Mayo. Photograph: Keith Heneghan / Phocus.
An old photo of the murdered Blaine brothers Tom on left and Jack on right with nephew Paul Dunne (centre)
Paul Dunne said the family had been told yesterday the men, who were aged 68 and 70, had been attacked in their home. He said, however, he did not believe they had been attacked during a robbery for sums of money it was rumoured that they kept in their modest dwelling on New Antrim Street.
“Jack would go to the bank if he wanted money. People they wouldn’t know would be talking and saying they had a room full of money, but that was rubbish,” he said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, whose constituency office is just 50m from where the men were killed, said yesterday the men had been bludgeoned to death. He made that statement before the State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy had arrived at the scene just after 3pm to carry out a preliminary examination of the remains ahead of postmortems last evening to establish the causes of the deaths.
“I was shocked this morning to get a call from my own town where there’s been a brutal and savage murder of two men that I knew well, two brothers,” Mr Kenny said.
“They were residents of the street where my office is for very many years, and I find this is an act of savagery.”
President of Muintir Na Tíre John Hogan condemned the killings saying they highlighted the need for communities around the country to check on their elderly neighbours and other vulnerable people.
Mr Dunne said the men were harmless and were so frail they needed help to take showers. “They minded their own business, they didn’t interfere with anybody,” he said.
“I last saw them at around five o’clock on Monday and they were in good form. They used to get up in the morning and the home help would come and shower them.
“Jack would go for a walk in the town and he used to go into Rocky’s [pub] for a cup of tea. Rocky was very good to them.
“Then he would go up the town for shopping and maybe in the evening go for a bag of chips. They were harmless guys.” Mr Dunne added the men had spent time working in construction in England from the 1960s to 1980s but had come home to look after their ailing mother, who has since died. A third sibling, John, died last year.
“Jack had an accident in England in the 1960s,” Mr Dunne said. “A concrete staircase fell on him. A lot of his colleagues were dug out and they were dead. They dug him out and he got up and walked a couple of yards and he collapsed. He lost a number of his toes in that accident.”
Mr Dunne also confirmed reports locally that Jack had been attacked last year in Castlebar and pushed to the ground and urinated on by his attacker.
He said gardaí investigated the incident, but because Jack was partially sighted, deaf and had a serious speech impediment it was felt he would not be able to give evidence in court.
He said the eldest brother Tom, who was in the first hours of his 70th birthday when killed in the early hours of yesterday morning, had mental health issues. “The last few years he was well looked after. I got home help and the neighbours were very good to him.”