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Sunday 18 March 2018

Heartbreak as parents lose both their sons just days apart

Barry Duggan and Eimear Ni Bhraonain

TWO heartbroken parents were last night being comforted after the deaths of their only two sons, who were found dead within days of each other.

Ken and Caroline Tooher -- who live on the outskirts of Roscrea, Co Tipperary -- must now prepare a farewell to their youngest son David (23), who died less than 24 hours after the funeral of his elder brother Keith (28).

The Tooher family and wider community in north Tipperary have been left numbed and shocked by the sudden deaths.

Gardai in Roscrea were last night awaiting the results of a post-mortem examination on David's remains.

It is understood that officers are treating his death as accidental. One theory is that he may have choked sometime during the night, hours after he attended Keith's funeral.

Keith Tooher took his own life at the weekend after a long battle with heroin addiction.

The brothers came from Timoney Avenue, Knock, Roscrea. Their parents were said to be "absolutely grief-stricken and reeling" following their sons' deaths.

David walked alongside his tearful parents and behind his brother's coffin at an emotional funeral service in the north Tipperary town on Tuesday.

Yesterday, David's body was found lying on a bed in a house on Ard na Greinne estate, on the outskirts of Roscrea.

It is believed he died during the night while asleep and may have suffered asphyxia.

He was found by a friend shortly after 8.30am and emergency services were alerted, but they were unable to resuscitate the young man. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shortly afterwards, Mr and Mrs Tooher were informed of the death of their only other child.

David's remains were removed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick for a post-mortem examination.

Neighbours and friends of the Toohers gathered at the family home throughout the day. The bungalow, five miles from Roscrea, had a constant stream of visitors throughout the day as the community rallied together.


None of the family wished to speak to the media yesterday and appealed for privacy. Friends said they were unable to comprehend what happened.

"This is very raw and sensitive. The whole place is absolutely shocked. They have lost their children in one week," said one local resident who asked not to be identified.

"Caroline looked absolutely devastated at Keith's funeral -- how will she cope with the death of her remaining son?

"Jesus Christ, what can you say to them? Whatever the circumstances, we can never comprehend their pain or what they are going through. They have lost all their children in a matter of days. All we can do is support and pray for them."

Local Fianna Fail councillor, Michael Smith described the deaths as a terrible double tragedy.

"I only heard it myself this morning. I wasn't too sure but it has since been confirmed and it is a devastating time for that poor family," he said.

"All we can do is offer our condolences to the Tooher family and friends."

Hundreds are expected to gather tonight in prayer alongside David's remains at Tierney's funeral home in Roscrea. His funeral Mass takes place at noon tomorrow at St Cronan's Church before he is laid to rest alongside his brother at Dungar cemetery.

Irish Independent

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