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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Gun ownership

'No red flags': No clear motive behind Kerry murder-suicide

The Taoiseach said recent tragic events are a ‘very significant worry’.

LAST UPDATE | Sep 9th 2021, 7:00 PM

INVESTIGATORS HAVE FOUND no obvious motive for the murder of Eileen and Jamie O’Sullivan and suicide of Maurice O’Sullivan. 

The bodies of Eileen O’Sullivan (56) and her 24-year-old son Jamie were found inside their home in Ballyreehan, close of the village of Lixnaw.

Eileen’s partner Maurice O’Sullivan (63) was found outside at the rear boundary of the house. All three had sustained gunshot wounds and a legally-held firearm was found in close proximity to the body of Maurice O’Sullivan. 

It’s suspected the older man shot and killed his partner and her son before turning the gun on himself.

The bodies of Eileen and Jamie were found in separate bedrooms in the house. Maurice O’Sullivan’s body was located in a difficult-to-access area to the rear of the property; local firefighters were called in this afternoon to recover his remains.

Sources have told The Journal that the investigation has not found any “red flags” to suggest a motive.

A forensic search of the property has not located a suicide note and gardaí are carrying out interviews with people who had met Maurice in the days before the shooting to try and find an answer to the mystery.  

Victim’s rights organisation AdVic have said in the wake of the tragedy that the rules around gun ownership in Ireland should be reviewed.

When asked about whether such a review should take place, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin told The Journal this afternoon: 

“First of all my deepest sympathies go to the family of those who were killed and to the community. These are devastating events, and the enormity of them are quite shocking. I do think we need to evaluate and reflect on this.

“But I’d like to hear the full sort of analysis from all authorities from different disciplines and the gardaí and try and get a sense of what happened here. It has happened elsewhere as well in the country in recent times, and it is a very significant worry.

“So I do think we need to reflect on that and learn lessons from it and then apply it in a number of areas and I don’t want to pre-empt what happened here, but I think we can’t ignore events of this kind.”

Need help? Support is available:

Aware – 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
Samaritans – 116 123 or email
Pieta House – 1800 247 247 or email (suicide, self-harm)
Teen-Line Ireland – 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 18)
Childline – 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

With reporting from Niall O’Connor.