Couple discovered by builder and one of their sons

Late Jimy Cuddihy was a retired maths teacher and his wife Kathleen a retired nurse

Gardaí outside a house in Carndonagh Co Donegal where Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy were found dead. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

Gardaí outside a house in Carndonagh Co Donegal where Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy were found dead. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

 

A builder who found the couple murdered in their Co Donegal home has spoken of his shock at making the discovery.

The man was part of a team renovating the home of Jimmy and Kathleen Cuddihy in Carndonagh.

Just after 9am, he and the couple’s son James discovered the bodies. “It was just horrific. I can’t really speak about it because it was just so shocking,” said the builder.

A man has now been arrested by gardaí and is being questioned under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

Mr Cuddihy was a retired maths teacher who was very well known in the area and his wife was a retired nurse.

Mr Cuddihy, who was a past president at Ballyliffin Golf Club, was a maths and technology teacher at Carndonagh Community School.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Martin McDermott said the entire area was numb with sadness and grief.

“Like everyone else, I am just numb and in shock at what has happened in Carndonagh today. They were a lovely, quiet couple with a lovely family. For something like this to happen is just surreal.”

Mr McDermott said he had been a pupil of Mr Cuddihy for three years and described him as “a lovely man and a very good teacher”.

“They were a very respected family and our hearts just go out to them at this time. You hear of things like this happening in big cities but not in a place like this in rural Ireland.”

Mr McDermott said nobody he had spoken to could believe what had happened. “Anybody I have spoken to just cannot believe it either, but this is a very tightly knit community and we will gather around the family at this time,” he said.

Staff at the popular Tul na Rí bar in Carndonagh are said to be “devastated” as Mr Cuddihy called there for a drink most days.

“Jimmy was a really lovely man,” said one staff member. “I didn’t know his wife at all but he would come in most days and would have a wee whiskey and a chat or sometimes he would just have coffee.

“He gave me maths grinds and he was a really good teacher. It’s just awful that something like this has happened.”

Gardaí were posted yesterday at both entrances to the house, which is about 450 metres from the town on the Buncrana road.

A Garda cordon was lifted occasionally as distraught relatives arrived at the scene, the sound of loud weeping breaking the silence.

A young man left a floral tribute at the entrance to the house just before noon. People passing the scene on foot and in cars blessed themselves.

At about 2pm, four detectives arrived at the scene. A short time later Greencastle-based priest Fr George McLaughlin arrived.

After spending a period of time inside the house, Fr McLaughlin briefly addressed reporters.

“This is a great tragedy and a great loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time,” he said.

Another neighbour who asked not to be named paid tribute to the couple’s kindness. “They were in their twilight years and it’s just so sad to think that their lives were ended in this way,” the neighbour said.