Gardaí expected to launch murder investigation into death of man in Kerry graveyard

Thomas Dooley died after he was attacked at the New Rath Cemetery in Tralee on Wednesday

Gardaí are expected to formally launch a murder investigation into the death of a 43-year-old father of seven who was attacked while attending a burial at a graveyard in Co Kerry on Wednesday.

The murder investigation is expected following the completion of a post-mortem examination on the deceased on Thursday evening.

Gardaí have not released the results of the post-mortem by State Pathologist, Dr Sally Anne Cullis for operational reasons, but it is understood Thomas Dooley died from shock and haemorrhage after suffering stab and slash wounds during the assault at New Rath Cemetery at Rathass in Tralee.

Meanwhile, gardaí were on Thursday night continuing to quiz two men arrested for questioning about the attack, which happened at around 11.45am on Wednesday as Mr Dooley and his wife, Siobhán were attending the burial of their friend, mother of five, Bridget O’Brien (48) who died last Sunday.


Gardaí arrested the first suspect, a 37-year-old man, originally from Cork city who later moved to Killarney, at around 1.30am on Thursday when he presented at the emergency department at Cork University Hospital, and he was brought to Tralee Garda Station for questioning.

Gardaí later arrested a second suspect, a 41-year-old-man on Anglesea Street in Cork city at around 12.30pm on Thursday, and they also brought the man, who lives in Cork city, to Tralee Garda Station for questioning about the attack on Mr Dooley.

Both men, who are related to each other and were well known to the deceased, were detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 which allows gardaí detain suspects for up to 24 hours before they must be either charged or released.

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee said: “It was an absolutely appalling attack. I can’t say much more than that and my condolences to this man and his family . . . It’s a live investigation so I trust the gardaí will do their job here and obviously that there will be justice for the family.”

Gardaí were on Thursday night remaining tight-lipped about a motive for the attack but one line of inquiry they are understood to be pursuing is that Mr Dooley was attacked as a result of a feud with another family following a row over a marriage.

It is believed the row over the marriage led to bad blood between Mr Dooley and the other family even though in a video, which appeared on social media on Thursday, but which is believed to be several years old, Mr Dooley denied the Dooley family were involved in any feud.

Mr Dooley was fatally injured when a group of five or six men attacked him with slash hooks and machetes at New Rath Cemetery and his wife, Siobhán was also injured when she tried to intervene and protect him from his assailants.

Mr Dooley was treated at the scene by paramedics before he was rushed the short distance to University Hospital Kerry where he was pronounced dead a short time later. His wife was also taken to hospital where she continues to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Garda technical experts were continuing on Thursday to carry out a forensic examination of the scene of the attack while they were also examining several implements recovered at the scene as well as a van belonging to the first suspect which they seized at the car park of Cork University Hospital.

Gardaí have set up an incident room in Tralee Garda Station from where they are co-ordinating the investigation and have appealed to anyone who may have witnessed the attack or has video footage of the assault to contact Tralee Garda Station on 066-7102300 or any Garda station.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times