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Indications that land ownership and farm income issues were behind the murders at Cork farm

CORK: Gardai indicated that issues related to land ownership and farm income were behind the murders at the family farm in Mitchelstown, North Cork.

Three brothers were killed here. The bodies of Willie Hennessy (66) and his brother, Patrick (60), who had been brutally murdered with an axe attack, were found in the family farm, while another was found dead in the river.

The body of their brother, Johnny (59), who lived on the farm, was found dead a few kilometres away in the river Funshion. Gardai’s initial conclusion was that behind all of this were issues related to land ownership and farm income.

Their family farm in Curraghgorm stretches from Mitchelstown to Kildorrery, near Mallow road.

Willie lived in Mitchelstown but spent most of his time on the farm. Patrick, a separated father of two, also spent a lot of time on the farm. Their fourth brother, Jer, died in a mysterious circumstance in January 2014. They also have a sister.

The bodies of the three brothers will be autopsied today at Cork University Hospital (CUH) to determine the cause of death.

The results of the forensic examination at the farmhouse and the post-mortem report will determine the course of Gardai’s investigation. The gardai does not believe anyone from outside is involved in the murder. They are also investigating whether any kind of mental health issues were the cause of the incident.

Around 12.30 pm, the daughter of one of the brothers called Gardai and informed that her father had been killed at the farm. The gardai went there as planned, as there were signs that the farm occupants had weapons.

An ASU investigation later found the body of Paddy Hennessy in a yard near the farmhouse. There were serious injuries to his head and face. Willie’s body was found in a shed near the farm. He had suffered similar injuries.

A third brother, Johnny, and his vehicle could not be found. The garda air support unit and the garda dog unit then arrived on the scene. Extensive search was conducted for Johnny and the vehicle. A red Toyota Corolla van was later found abandoned in a farmhouse near St. Joseph’s Church in Killacluig. It was near the river Funshion.

Gardai focused their search on this area and along the riverbank. Johnny’s body was discovered by members of the underwater Garda unit on the river bank about 1km downstream.

The people of North Cork were devastated by the unexpected tragedy of the Hennessy brothers, who were gentlemen and close associates of the community.

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