'Everything perfectly normal' in hours before taxi man's brutal death
The family of murdered taxi driver Martin Mulligan, who was found stabbed to death near his car, have told how everything was "perfectly normal" in the hours before his brutal death.
The body of Mr Mulligan (53) was found early yesterday morning by passers-by in the Kilcurry area north of Dundalk.
His nephew, Gary, last night paid tribute to a "loving man who lived for his family".
"He was a very kind-natured, jovial person," he said. "He was always up for a bit of crack, a bit of friendly slagging. Overall, he was extremely hard-working. He loved his family and he worked so hard for them. Looking after his family is what drove him.
"He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was an extremely happy person."
Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said everything was "perfectly normal" in the hours before the father-of-two left for work at around 9.30pm on Sunday.
"It was his normal routine to go out like he did to earn a living," he said.
"There was nothing un- toward or different going on before he left. It was a normal weekend for him to go out."
A cross-border manhunt is now under way.
Investigations by gardaí will probe whether the victim, from the Waterview estate on Lower Point Road, Dundalk, was robbed by a passenger and then stabbed or was attacked in a row over a fare, among other possibilities.
The PSNI will also help gardaí as the attack happened close to the border.
Detectives are considering if those responsible fled north.
The alarm was raised at around 3.15am yesterday when Mr Mulligan's body was spotted by a passer-by on a quiet link road near Kilcurry, around 3km from Dundalk. The route is regularly used by taxi drivers and other motorists.
Emergency services were called to the scene, but Mr Mulligan was pronounced dead.
Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis was called to the scene and a post-mortem examination was carried out later at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
Mr Mulligan suffered stab wounds to the stomach and leg and is believed to have bled to death on the side of the road.
His body was found around 300 metres from his 2007 Louth-registered beige Skoda Octavia car and investigations will consider if he tried to escape his attacker. Some family members yesterday visited the scene of the shocking killing.
Mr Mulligan lived with his wife, Gráinne, and is the father of Sharon and Shauna.
Supt Gerry Curley confirmed gardaí have not ruled out the possibility that the attacker may have fled north of the border.
"I can't say what was the motive - we have no motive established at this stage," he said.
"We will be seeking the assistance of the PSNI. It is close to the border with Northern Ireland."
Officers are particularity keen to speak to anyone who engaged with Mr Mulligan from 9.30pm onwards when he began his shift.
"We're examining all aspects of the incident, and house-to-house inquiries are being carried out in the area," Supt Curley said.
Fr Michael Cusack, from St Joseph's parish in Dundalk, said Mr Mulligan had been working "to put bread on the table and in his efforts ended up losing his life".
He called on those behind the vicious attack to turn themselves in, though he said it would not end the pain felt by the grieving family.
"It's not going to bring any real comfort to the family now," he said.
"This family have lost their loved one, this mother has lost her son, a wife has lost her husband and two girls lost their father."