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Sunday 25 February 2018

'Loner' quizzed by gardai after body found in barrel

The scene near Barefield, Ennis, Co Clare where a man’s body was discovered yesterday
The scene near Barefield, Ennis, Co Clare where a man’s body was discovered yesterday

Brian McDonald and Pat Flynn

GARDAI are confident they have solved the violent murder of a young man whose body was dumped head first in a barrel.

A man was still being questioned last night about the circumstances surrounding the grim discovery in a field in rural Co Clare early yesterday.

The victim was named locally as Eoin Ryan (21), from the Kilrush Road in Ennis. His family had become concerned when he did not return home after going into Ennis town centre on Sunday evening to socialise.

The victim is the son of former Teachers Union of Ireland president Don Ryan. Mr Ryan has been a nember of the TUI for many years and only retired from his position recently.

A family member who went to Ennis garda station yesterday was given the shocking news.

Call

Gardai in Ennis were alerted by a phone call shortly after 6am yesterday and immediately travelled to Cappagh Beg near Barefield, about 8km from Ennis town centre.

They discovered Mr Ryan's body in a blue plastic agricultural barrel in a field, some distance from a farmhouse.

They immediately arrested a man in his 30s who was at the scene. He was detained on suspicion of murder under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

The area where the body was found and the nearby farmyard were identified as crime scenes and were sealed off for forensic examination. It is thought that Mr Ryan was beaten to death some distance from where he was found. Among the items forensically examined at the scene was a concrete block.

Only locals living along the the cul de sac were allowed access to the short roadway leading to the farmyard yesterday. The body remained at the scene until lunchtime when it was removed -- still in the barrel -- to the Midwest Regional Hospital in Limerick where State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy carried out a post-mortem.

Mr Ryan's family were travelling to the hospital last evening to make a formal identification.

The main suspect in the case is regarded as something of a loner. His father passed away last year and he is understood to have found it difficult to come to terms with his loss. He has worked on the land for most of his life.

One man living in the area said: "This is a huge shock to everyone here. This is a farming area and everyone knows everyone else. It's a terrible tragedy."

Parish priest of Doora-Barefield Fr Jerry Carey said yesterday that "a sadness has descended over Barefield" following news in the area of the discovery of the body.

Fr Carey said: "Barefield is a tight-knit community and people are genuinely shocked. We would never expect anything like that to happen in a place like Barefield."

Gardai believe that Mr Ryan and his assailant did not know each other prior to meeting socially in Ennis town centre on Sunday evening. However, they have established the two men travelled together by taxi from Ennis to Cappagh Beg some time after midnight.

Following an appeal by Superintendent Peter Duff of Ennis early yesterday, a taxi driver came forward and made a formal statement, confirming that he had taken two men to Cappagh Beg.

Gardai would like anyone who may have been in the area of Cappagh Beg between Monday evening and Tuesday morning to contact them on 065-6848100 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800-666-111."

Irish Independent

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