Prayers said for pair shot dead in Roscommon

Mon, Feb 13, 2012, 00:00

PRAYERS WERE said at Masses in Cloonfad, Co Roscommon, at the weekend for the two people who died from gunshot wounds on Friday night.

Sarah Regan (30), a mother of two, was shot dead by her former partner Robert Hartley (44), from Grangemockler, Co Tipperary. He then turned the .22 rifle on himself.

Local priest Fr Joe Feeney, who anointed the bodies, included them and their loved ones in yesterday’s prayers at 10.30am Mass in St Patrick’s Church.

Earlier he told reporters that he had known both victims, particularly Ms Regan. “I knew Sarah better than him,” Fr Feeney said. “I don’t know anything much about him. He wasn’t living around here.”

A Garda investigation team headed by Garda Supt Brendan Connolly has been piecing together the sequence of events leading up to the deaths. They have confirmed they are not looking for anybody else in their investigations.

It has emerged the couple had broken up recently.

Mr Hartley had been driven by a female friend on Friday evening to Cloonfad to pick up some belongings from his former girlfriend, who lived in the village’s West View estate.

The driver waited in a local pub for Mr Hartley to return. Emerging from the pub at about midnight, the woman saw his silver Volkswagen Passat car nearby. It was then discovered that Mr Hartley was dead in the vehicle.

Gardaí were called and an immediate search was mounted for Ms Regan as there were concerns for her safety.

Her body was discovered about 90 minutes later in her car at Springvale housing estate in the village.

Ms Regan had two children, aged 11 and 8, while Mr Hartley is also understood to have had children from a previous relationship.

The Regan family, former owners of the now defunct Manor House Hotel in nearby Ballyhaunis, are well known in the southwest Roscommon and east Mayo area. The family lived in Britain before returning here.

Michael McGreal, a member of Roscommon County Council, said Cloonfad had a reputation for having great community spirit and the Regans had always involved themselves in community activities.

Mr McGreal said the shootings and the recent incident involving the kidnapping of the postmaster in Cloonfad highlighted the importance of maintaining the strength of the Garda in rural areas.

“Cloonfad is one of those areas where there has been an increasingly transient population in recent years,” Mr McGreal added.

State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy conducted postmortems at University College Hospital Galway at the weekend before the release of the bodies to relatives for the funerals.