Fatal shooting at Cork farm may have been due to dumping row
Detectives have arrested a man in his mid-60s following incident near Macroom
Derry Coakley, who was shot on Monday night. Photograph: Provision
Gardaí are investigating whether a fatal shooting near Macroom in Co Cork was triggered by a row over the dumping of building material on a farm.
Detectives arrested a man in his mid-60s at his home in Raleigh just before 11am on Tuesday and brought him to Bandon Garda station where he was being held under section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act which allows detention for up to seven days.
Gardaí have established that Mr Coakley, a separated father-of-one, had delivered a load of building rubble to the farm when he was confronted by the landowner and at least one shot was fired at him. He managed to get back on to his tractor and drive back on to the public road a few hundred metres away. He then rang a friend who was living nearby.
The man drove to the scene where he found Mr Coakley badly injured on the road and he notified the emergency services. Paramedics tended to Mr Coakley but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Gardaí cordoned off the road and Mr Coakley’s body remained at the scene overnight.
Gardaí, under Supt Mick Fitzpatrick requested the State Pathologist and the Garda Technical Bureau from Dublin. Mr Coakley’s body remained at the scene until late on Wednesday afternoon when it was removed to Cork University Hospital.
Gardaí are expected to formally begin a murder inquiry on Thursday after a postmortem. Technical experts have been examining two separate crime scenes – the first where Mr Coakley was shot on the farm and the second where he died on the road several hundred metres away.
It is believed their investigation will also involve the examination of a legally held firearm belonging to the man who was arrested at his home.
Gardaí are keeping an open mind on the motive but one line of inquiry is that while Mr Coakley had permission to dispose of some building material at the farm, a row may have broken out over the exact location on the farm where he had deposited the most recent load.
Mr Coakley, who lived with his elderly mother in Castle Street in the centre of Macroom, did contract work for Cork County Council, including gritting roads for the local authority during cold weather , as well as work for individual property owners.
Former Labour County Councillor and Macroom Tidy Towns chairman, Martin Coughlan said people in the town were shocked to wake up on Wednesday to learn that he had been shot dead as he was such a familiar figure.
“Derry was the call man around town – he had own machines, including a couple of JCBs. He worked for the council and would work for anyone. If you ever needed any job done, he would be down to you straight away, I am just totally and utterly dismayed,” Mr Coughlan said.
Cork County Council said that while Mr Coakley was not a council employee, he was well known to its staff as a contractor in the Macroom area and the council wished to extend its deepest sympathies to his family and friends on their loss.