Gardaí to review Kanturk murder-suicide inquest after jury recommendation

Jury recommended approach to risks about people with firearms licences be reviewed

A review of the O’Sullivan murder-suicide inquest is set to be undertaken by the Garda to determine if it needs to change its approach when risks are flagged about people with firearms licences.

The inquest concluded this week and found Tadg O’Sullivan (59) and one of his sons, Diarmuid (23), had died by suicide but that that the other son, Mark (26), had been shot dead by his brother and father, with two legally held rifles.

The inquest was told Louise Sherlock went to gardaí in Kanturk two weeks before the attack last October to express her concerns for the safety of her cousin Anne O'Sullivan and her son Mark and his mother due to a row over an inheritance.

The inquest heard Ms Sherlock was advised about barring orders and also that Mrs O'Sullivan should make a statement. However, two weeks later the murder-suicide occurred at the family home in Raheen, Kanturk, Co Cork.


The inquest jury this week made a recommendation that protocols over third-party contacts with gardaí relating to the safety of others be reviewed, especially in cases of firearms possession.

In reply to queries , the Garda said it was aware of the recommendation . It was “awaiting a copy of the written verdict in this case to see the exact recommendation made and determine what, if any, further action is required”.

The Garda added that, under its own policies, if a report of domestic abuse was “received from a third party, it must be investigated and the appropriate action taken”. Under the Firearms Acts, the Garda “may revoke a firearms certificate, and seize a firearm in certain circumstances”.

However, the Garda added when assessing any information received – about threats or risks to a person’s safety – it is necessary that “the information is specific to be able to identify a person, persons or location, and not just a general enquiry, to determine any further course of action”.

Ms O’Sullivan managed to flee from the house on foot during the attack last October but has since died of cancer.

The inquest found Tadg and Diarmuid shot dead Mark in his bedroom before taking their own lives. The deaths resulted from an inheritance row over a 115 acre farm owned by Ms O’Sullivan.

She was terminally ill and planned to leave the farm to her two sons equally. However, Diarmuid believed he should get the land and was supported by his father in that belief. Once Ms O’Sullivan’s cancer became terminal, the dispute escalated.

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Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times