News Irish News

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Devoted stay-at-home dad cheered on GAA-loving sons

The crime scene in Rosbeg in Wesport last night where the crash happened
The crime scene in Rosbeg in Wesport last night where the crash happened
The home where Eoghan Chada, 10, and his brother Ruairi, 5 lived in Ballinkillen, Carlow
Sanjeev Chada (43) and his two children Eoghan(10) and Ruairi (5)

SANJEEV Chada was the perfect picture of the devoted father.

He brought his sons to and from school, made them lunch when they got home, and encouraged their involvement in the local GAA club, supporting them from the sidelines as they donned the blue and yellow of the local team.

Known as 'Sanj' in the village of Ballinkillen, Co Carlow, he was a stay-at home-dad while his wife Kathleen commuted to Dublin where she works as a nurse in a fertility clinic.

He was set to take his sons Eoghan and Ruairi on a treat to a bowling alley in Carlow town on Sunday night when the plans took a devastating and tragic turn.

Locals in the hamlet were last night mystified at the circumstances of the death of the couple's two little boys, whose bodies were found in a crashed car, driven by Mr Chada, in Westport, Co Mayo.

The village, little more than a church, the local GAA pitch and clubhouse, and a scattering of houses, is home to less than 100 people.

Family gathered at the home of the boys' maternal grandparents William and Patsy Murphy when the devastating news that they were dead reached Ballinkillen just before 4pm.

Locals expressed their shock with one woman, whose children share a classroom with one of the boys, saying: "Honest to God we can't even take in what's happened yet.

"Some of our children don't even know. We're waiting for them to come home to tell them. It's just awful."

Another local told the Irish Independent: "Nobody knows what has happened here, you know. That's the mystery of it. I suppose if two children and their father go out bowling and are not back by midnight, that's most unusual."

The Murphy family have lived in Ballinkillen for about 45 years.

Kathleen's father William farmed on nearby land for decades, with some of his sons taking over from him when he retired.

The family are described locally as "very well respected members of the farming community".

Kathleen's mother Patsy is a popular figure in the village and the pair have four sons, Brian, Kevin, Kenneth and Liam, and another daughter, Irene.

Kenneth and Liam are said to be abroad, in Australia and the United Arab Emirates respectively, and it's expected that they will return home in the coming days.

Sanjeev Chada and Kathleen Murphy met more than a decade ago.

They lived in Dublin for a number of years after their eldest, Eoghan, was born.

He was about two when the couple began planning their dream home in the scenic rolling countryside on the outskirts of Ballinkillen.

They submitted plans for a handsome two-storey house with Carlow County Council in 2005 and moved in when it was built a number of years later.

Mr Chada, thought to have been born in Ireland to Indian parents, is understood to be Hindu, while his wife Kathleen is a committed Catholic and serves as a sacristan in the church in Ballinkillen. Both Eoghan and Ruairi were being brought up as Catholics.

According to one local, Mr Chada was thought to be involved in a computer business run from his home.

Several locals that spoke to the Irish Independent, described how they were familiar with Mr Chada from seeing him around the village, but didn't know him well.

However, he was said to be heavily involved with the local hurling club and was a fixture on the sidelines whenever his sons were playing. The two boys were said to play hurling, football and soccer and were described by one local as "very outgoing".

- Cormac McQuinn

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News