Kanturk inquest: Shootings were preceded by months of tension

Kanturk inquest: Shootings were preceded by months of tension

The O’Sullivan family farm and the ringfort to the right where three members of the family lost their lives in a shooting incident at Assolas, Kanturk, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

TADG and Diarmuid O’Sullivan died beside each other after months of tension between them and Anne and Mark O’Sullivan.

They had spent their last two weeks at the family home in Raheen, Assolas, outside Kanturk, becoming increasingly bitter over a dispute about Ms O’Sullivan’s plans to leave the farm to Diarmuid and Mark.

The inquest heard there had been a close bond between the father and son, and that they had worked cutting timber together. Tadg also worked as a mechanic and was originally from Lohort, Cecilstown, before marrying Anne in 1993.

Diarmuid had completed an accountancy degree in Cork Institute of Technology.

Diarmuid had wanted to inherit the farm and Tadg backed him. The court heard that Diarmuid and Mark’s relationship deteriorated from October 2019, when Mark was studying for his solicitor exams. Diarmuid also became distant from his mother then and tensions grew in the marriage of Ms O’Sullivan and her husband, with Tadg telling his wife that he had married her to better himself.

In an interview with gardaí, Mark’s college friend, Shamila Rahmon, said her interactions with Mark’s family were minimal. However, she said she had not liked Diarmuid, adding: “He didn’t give off good vibes.”

She told gardaí that the tensions in the family became worse as Ms O’Sullivan became sicker. She also said that, after hearing about what had happened at Assolas, she was “not surprised that it was Diarmuid involved”.

“It’s one thing to have issues over land, but how can you bring it to your dad and have two people on the same page to kill family members?”

She said that Tadg and Diarmuid were close, adding: “The dad saw Mark as been [sic] more part of the mom’s side of the family.”

Sole survivor raised alarm despite cancer

ANNE O’Sullivan was the sole survivor of the horrific events that unfolded at her family farm at Raheen, Assolas, near Kanturk, on October 26.

Although battling cancer and having just recently had surgery, she escaped from her home to raise the alarm at the neighbouring house of Jackie and Anne Cronin.

Just before fleeing, Ms O’Sullivan saw her son Diarmuid banging something outside the gate to the courtyard.

Inspector Anne Marie Twomey told yesterday’s inquest that a hammer and several broken phones were located there by gardaí later that day.

Ms O’Sullivan had worked as a nurse at Mount Alvernia hospital and inherited the 115 acres at Assolas from her mother.

She first battled breast cancer in late 2012. On February 28, 2020, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

On that evening, after a walk with Diarmuid, Tadg told her that she needed to get her affairs in order, according to statements taken from Ms O’Sullivan.

Tension continued to rise in the home as a result of Diarmuid’s wish to be willed the majority of the land.

Ms O’Sullivan had been an only child, but she lived near cousins, with whom she was very close.

 Witness Louise Sherlock at court.Pic: Larry Cummins. Inquest at Mallow, Co Cork into the murder-suicide deaths of a father and two sons; Mark O'Sullivan, his brother Diarmuid and father Tadg O'Sullivan.
Witness Louise Sherlock at court.Pic: Larry Cummins. Inquest at Mallow, Co Cork into the murder-suicide deaths of a father and two sons; Mark O'Sullivan, his brother Diarmuid and father Tadg O'Sullivan.

One of those cousins, Louise Sherlock, told gardaí that Anne was known as the eighth sister in her family. Louise was one of seven girls. She lived two miles away, and she and Ms O’Sullivan called regularly to each other.

When Ms O’Sullivan and Mark wanted to escape the growing tensions at home, they moved into Ms Sherlock’s house for two weeks prior to the horrific incident.

Ms O’Sullivan had also told her of the difficulties in the home in the months before, including about an incident on October 8 in which there was a confrontation, over a number of hours, with Diarmuid and Tadg about her will.

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