'Quiet gentlemen': Mitchelstown reels in shock at deaths of three brothers

'Quiet gentlemen': Mitchelstown reels in shock at deaths of three brothers

Garda forensics watch on as a hearse (black estate) leaves the farm off the Mitchelstown to Mallow Road outside Kildorrery, carrying the remains of two brothers discovered on nearby farmland. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

QUIET gentlemen who kept to themselves is the description given again and again of the three Hennessy brothers, Johnny, Willie and Paddy, who died on Thursday night and Friday morning in an apparent murder-suicide in North Cork.

The three brothers, who were aged 59, 60 and 66 respectively, were local men who were well known and well-liked.

They were known collectively locally as the 'The Saints'.

Mary Fitzgerald, from Ballylanders said she knew them to see.

“They used to sell blocks of wood around our area. I hadn’t seen them really since Covid, but they were well-known. I think everyone would know them as local people.

“They were very nice, harmless. I don't know really what happened, it's shocking, they always seemed to have got on well. They were nearly always together, they seemed to get on great.” 

Mary said it was awfully sad that this had happened.

Willie Hennessy pictured with his local GAA club Ballygiblin in 1979; Paddy (Pat) Hennessey pictured with his local GAA club Ballygiblin in 1984. Pictures: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Willie Hennessy pictured with his local GAA club Ballygiblin in 1979; Paddy (Pat) Hennessey pictured with his local GAA club Ballygiblin in 1984. Pictures: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

“It's terrible, they were innocent, quiet men, who minded their own business most of the time. I don’t know anyone who would have a bad thing to say about them.

"They kept to themselves, they would always salute and they were quiet.” 

Describing the feeling in the local community after the tragedy, Mary said people were shocked.

 Supt Liam Geraghty, at the Garda Press Office briefing with the media regarding the deaths in North Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins
Supt Liam Geraghty, at the Garda Press Office briefing with the media regarding the deaths in North Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins

“They were country people, minding their own business and doing their own little bit.” 

Brendan Doyle, was a neighbour of the brother’s farm. 

“I live out in the countryside, not too far from Killacluig church. My neighbour texted me early this morning, around 8am. I thought it was unusual to get an early text so I knew it was something wrong.

“I was shocked, people always say you wouldn’t expect it in your area but to me, we assumed it was someplace in the town. We weren’t thinking it would be so close by.” 

Brendan said he would have known Paddy who worked in a garage in the town.

“You could not meet a nicer, salt of the earth fella. You couldn’t meet a nicer gentleman. I wouldn’t have believed it was them. No one knows what's going on.” 

Brendan said it was not the day he was expecting to have on Friday.

“I thought I would have my last day of homeschooling today, I spent the day looking out the window at the helicopters and the guards, ambulances, etc.” 

The neighbour said when the gardaí were on the lookout for the van earlier in the day on Friday, he had been quite fearful for his own family.

“When they were saying they were looking for a van earlier, we were afraid.

"You assumed if it was a robbery, they would be looking for a car. So everything was locked up.

"Because we were so close, we weren’t taking a chance to go to the clothesline.” 

Mr Doyle acknowledged that this was not the first of this type of tragedy to happen in North Cork, referencing the suspected murder-suicide that occurred in Kanturk in October where Tadhg O’Sullivan and his son Diarmuid died close to their son Mark at the family farm.

A local Mitchelstown woman, Noreen Hennessy, said she heard about the tragedy on the radio.

“I couldn’t believe it. I knew Paddy, I know the family. I worked with his sister. It is very sad, no one can believe it.” 

Noreen said she knew Paddy the most as he often changed her tyres.

“He was a quiet man. It is so sad what happened, three gone from the one family. 

"I feel so sorry for everyone. There is a lot of people upset around town today, it's hard to believe that this could even happen. It’s just horrific. Life is just so hard now on everybody.” 

Speaking to The Echo, local councillor Frank O’Flynn described the family as “lovely”.

“They were closely knit and they were well got in the area and I feel very sad for the family and the people of the locality. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

Garda Superintendent Liam Geraghty said gardaí are not looking for anyone else in connection to the investigation.

Speaking to the media outside Mitchelstown Garda Station, he said that no firearms were involved in the incident, but would not confirm whether a weapon was recovered from the scene.

He appealed to anyone who may have information about the interaction of the people involved to contact gardaí.

Mr Geraghty described it as a "difficult scene", adding that counselling services have been provided for gardaí who attended the area.

"We know the identity of all three bodies and are not looking for anyone else," he added

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