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Monday 19 March 2018

Gardai question man over murder of two brothers in Castlebar

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Gardai have arrested a man for questioning about the savage murder of two elderly brothers at their home in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Officers investigating the brutal attacks on Jack Blaine (70) and his brother, Tom (68) detained the suspect this evening.

He has been taken to Castlebar garda station where he is being held under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

He can be held without charge for up to 24 hours.

New Antrim Street in Castlebar. Photo: Google Street view
New Antrim Street in Castlebar. Photo: Google Street view

Gardai are still trying to establish whether the murders were a result of a botched robbery.

State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy has started a post mortem examination of the two bodies at Mayo general hospital in Castlebar.

It is believed both were beaten about the head and body.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the killings of Tommy and Jack Blaine in his home town as an act of savagery.

Mr Kenny, who has his constituency office on the same street, said he knew the victims very well.

"I was shocked this morning to get a call from my own town where there has been the brutal and savage murder of two men I knew well," he said.

"I find this as an act of savagery.

"I have spoken to the gardai and I know they are pursuing lines of inquiry and I hope that person or persons responsible are brought to justice in due course."

Mr Kenny described the elderly brothers as "lovely people".

"They never harmed anybody in their lives, were residents of the street where my office is, I knew them very well," he said.

"I'm very sorry to hear of these brutal murders."

A Garda source described the two men as vulnerable and said they were last seen at around 10pm last night sitting out the front of their house, where they would often be seen greeting locals and passers-by.

One of the men was found dead in a bedroom inside the property and the other outside at the back of the house.

Gardai said the discovery was made at about 7am.

Detectives sealed off the house for forensic examination and state pathologist Marie Cassidy carried out preliminary examinations of the bodies and the building to determine how and when the men died.

A full post-mortem examination was to take place at Mayo General Hospital.

New Antrim Street is a busy part of Castlebar town centre, with pubs and restaurants nearby.

The town was reportedly quiet last night.

Michael Kilcoyne, an independent councillor in Castlebar, said the local community was in shock over the deaths.

"It's a terrible tragedy for the town," he said.

"People, in particular older people, are in fear this morning and whatever resources the gardai need should be made available to them without question," he said.

The brothers were well-known in the town. It is understood a home help carer discovered the men's bodies after arriving at the house to prepare them for their daily routine.

Gardai are attempting to trace relatives.

It is understood the street outside the house is covered by CCTV from nearby pubs.

Ger Deere, Fine Gael deputy mayor of Castlebar, said the whole town was stunned.

"The men were liked gentlemen, inoffensive gentlemen, everyone around Castlebar knew them," he said.

"They were part of the landscape.

"Everyone in the town seemed to have a word for them.

"They were quiet, inoffensive, well-liked by everyone, known by everyone on the street.

"It's very tragic.

"No-one would ever have expected what has happened here in Castlebar."

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