Deaths of three brothers near Mitchelstown investigated by gardaí

Men named locally as Paddy (60) , Willie (66) and Johnny (59) Hennessy

Gardaí investigating the apparent murder-suicide of three brothers in north Cork are expected to confirm they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the killings following the recovery of a body from a river.

Brothers, Paddy (60) and Willie Hennessy (66) were found dead at the family home at Curraghgorm, three miles north west of Mitchelstown, having been apparently attacked by their younger brother, Johnny (59) whose body was later recovered from the nearby Funcheon River.

Gardaí had been searching for the youngest of three brothers after the discovery of the bodies of his two older brothers at Curraghgorm, about 10km outside Mitchelstown.

Shortly after midday, the Garda helicopter spotted a body floating in the River Funcheon.


The Garda Water Unit retrieved the body which is being taken to Cork University Hospital for a postmortem.

The eldest brother, whose body was one of two found with head injuries at the farm, is the registered owner of the property.*

Initially, gardaí believed the men had been shot even though none of the three brothers had a licenced firearm. Gardaí now believe that they were both attacked and fatally wounded with an axe.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margot Bolster has carried out a preliminary examination of the bodies of the two brothers.

Garda technical experts have also begun examining a red Toyota Corolla van belonging to the suspect which was taken when he left the scene and was later found near St Joseph’s Church in Killacluig, not far from Mitchelstown.*

Officers were alerted at about midnight to the incident when they received a call from a woman who told them her father had been killed at his family’s farm at Curraghgorm, northwest of Mitchelstown.

Gardaí under Supt Padraic Powell of Fermoy Garda station requested the services of the Armed Support Unit (ASU) as they believed that one or possibly two men on the property may have been armed with a gun.

Units from Cork and Limerick were sent to the scene and established a cordon around the farm, which is down a boreen, off the N73 between Mitchelstown and Mallow and near Kildorrery.

A large force of gardaí from the North Cork Division closed off roads and then, once it was clear the suspect had left the farm, proceeded to carry out a detailed search of the surrounding area.

Members of the ASU found the body of a man in the farm yard. They then made their way into the farmhouse and into a barn where they discovered the body of his brother.

One brother lived in Co Tipperary with his partner but frequently returned to visit the family home, even though he is not the registered owner.

Another brother lives at the farm, even though he too had no title to the property.

The incident comes just five months after an incident in Castlemagner near Kanturk in north Cork where a man and his son shot themselves after shooting another son in a dispute over land.

Gardaí believe Tadhg O’Sullivan (59) and his son, Diarmuid (23) were both involved in the shooting dead of Mr O’Sullivan’s other son, Mark (26), at the family home at Raheen, Kanturk, on October 26th.

Gardaí believe Mr O’Sullivan’s widow, Anne (60) was spared by her husband and younger son so she could live with the torment after they shot Mark in a row over who would inherit the 115-acre farm.

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*This article was amended on February 27th, 2021

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times