Deaths of three O’Driscoll brothers has shattered family, funeral told

Older sister speaks of family’s anguish as twins and older brother laid to rest

The tragic deaths of three young brothers has had a shattering effect on their family, but their memories will be treasured forever, their older sister told mourners at their funeral mass in north Cork yesterday.

Bernadette O’Driscoll, who is in her early 20s, struggled to contain her emotions as she read a letter to her three younger brothers, Jonathan (21) and twins Patrick and Tom (9), who died tragically last Thursday in what gardaí believe was a double murder and suicide.

“To my three brothers, Jonathan, Paddy and Tom Tom, the memories of laughter – that we shared together as a family growing up – I will treasure for the rest of my life.

“I will always love you and I will always miss you,” said the mother of three.


‘Whole world in pain’

“Forever, our family hearts are broken. Also, from our hearts, we say a fond farewell to the three of ye.

“God will be waiting at the gates of Heaven to take ye in. The whole world is in pain today at the loss of our family. We all miss you so much,”she said.

Mourners had begun gathering at the Holy Cross Church in Charleville from 11.30am.

Among them were Paddy and Tom’s classmates from Banogue National School, just over the county bounds in Co Limerick, where the two boys had just gone into third class after the summer holidays.

Charleville curate, Fr Tom Naughton, who has helped the boys’s parents, Tom and Helen, Bernadette and younger brothers Jimmy (5) and Martin (3) through the last few days, spoke about how the tragedy had led to a great outpouring of sympathy and support.

"In this brief period, many emotions have being burning in the hearts and minds of fathers and mothers, not only here in our community of Charleville, but also across the length and breadth of Ireland and beyond.

“Helen and Thomas, ever so many people want to embrace you and your family so you may know you are not alone and we don’t want you ever to feel alone because we are, and will continue to be, there for you.

“Don’t ever hesitate to call us, day or night, in the days, weeks, or months ahead. Never feel alone,” said Fr Naughton before going on to share some of the family’s memories of their three sons which they had shared with him over the past few days.

“The twins were lovable rogues. They were fun-loving and energetic. They loved playing with their friends.

“They were very honest: direct and straight. They said it as it was. They knew how to say sorry and were famous for their hugs,” he said.

“The day Jonathan came into Helen and Thomas’s lives was the happiest day of their lives . . . Jonathan made the whole family happy.

“He was there when you needed him and could pop up at any stage. He loved all his godchildren and never forgot their birthdays.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times