Wednesday 21 March 2018

Pregnant wife distraught as father of one stabbed to death

Gardai arrest three after settled Traveller killed in violent brawl involving 10

Claire O'Brien and Tom Brady

A HEAVILY pregnant woman was last night mourning the death of her husband who was stabbed to death in a violent brawl.

Up to 10 people were involved in a row that broke out in the quiet Arden View housing estate in Tullamore, Co Offaly, shortly before 11am.

The victim was named locally as 28-year-old settled Traveller Derek McDonagh, a father of one whose wife Theresa is due to give birth.

Up to 100 members of the extended McDonagh family gathered at Tullamore General Hospital in the hours following the death of the father of one, resulting in a disruption of services there for a time.

Mr McDonagh collapsed on the road after being stabbed in the body and was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Gardai were quickly on the scene and recovered what they believe was the weapon used in the killing.

They arrested three men, two of whom live on a halting site in the town. The third man is from Galway.

One of Mr McDonagh's sisters said: "I want my brother back."

Neighbours and friends of Mr McDonagh, who lived at Callery Street in the town, said the victim and his family were quiet, respectable people. He was one of 10 siblings.

One of those arrested also suffered stab wounds and received medical treatment for what were described as minor injuries.


Residents of Arden View were shocked by the events that unfolded in the estate between 9am and 11.30am.

One neighbour was woken by a row near the home of the victim's parents Anthony and Teresa McDonagh at about 9am. At 11am there was more noise and men with weapons including a spade and pickaxe were seen.

The neighbour, who did not want to be named because of fear of reprisals in the area, heard the words "I'll kill you".

Shortly afterwards, a blood-soaked man was seen on the street, just a couple of hundred yards from a primary school.

Gardai are examining CCTV footage taken from the Arden View Resource Centre, directly opposite where the attack happened, and are questioning residents about what is understood to have been a vicious assault, though it is not clear who the intended victim was.

Superintendent John Molo-ney said the incident was not part of a feud, but "arose out of something simple".

It is understood there was a dispute between two families which may have started the previous evening.

Noel Connolly, chair of the Arden View Resource Centre, said people in the area were shocked by the incident. He described the McDonagh family as "quiet people".

"You'd never hear a word out of them," he said.

People in the area were "devastated" by the incident, he said, adding that he hoped that there would be no reprisals.

Another neighbour hugged her grandchild in her arms as she said she would be scared of what might happen next.

"You begin to think is anything else going to come after this," she said.

A mobile home at Kilcruttin halting site was set on fire last night, but it is understood to have been unoccupied at the time. There is a significant garda presence in the Offaly town, including members of the Regional Response Unit.

A post-mortem was due to be carried out by State Pathologist Marie Cassidy.

Irish Independent

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