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Mourners gather to pay respect to tragic brothers Willie and Paddy Hennessy


Willie, left, and Paddy Hennessy

Willie, left, and Paddy Hennessy

Willie, left, and Paddy Hennessy

THE two coffins emerged from the church to the bowed heads of the mourners gathered outside.

They were side by side, Paddy Hennessy on the right, carried by several pallbearers including his daughter Elaine, and Willie Hennessy on the left.

Behind them, their sister Breda, the last remaining Hennessy sibling, watched as they were placed inside each hearse.

She had stood in the exact same spot outside the church door just yesterday, as the coffin of her brother John was taken on its final journey.

John’s funeral, a service few locals were aware was taking place, had seen just three neighbours gather outside. Today, as Breda surveyed the scene around the church grounds, her eyes took in every person, almost 50 in number, who had come to pay their respects.

The deaths of her three brothers, in an apparent murder-suicide carried out by John, has left the community in Mitchelstown reeling.

Last Thursday, after killing Willie and Paddy on the family farm with an axe, John took his own life in the river Funshion.

Today’s joint requiem mass for Willie and Paddy saw Breda, who lives in nearby Angelsboro, Co Limerick, joined by her husband and daughter Lisa. Paddy’s daughter Elaine was accompanied by her young children and partner and Paddy’s ex-partner Stephanie was also present. Numbers inside the Church of Our Lady Conceived Without Sin in Mitchelstown were limited to 10 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The service lasted just under an hour, with friends and family watching from a distance as floral arrangements were placed inside each hearse.

For Wille – two simple wreaths. For Paddy, two large floral tributes, one that read “Dad” and another that read “Grandad”.

Mourners then travelled to nearby Brigown Cemetery, where a crowd of up to 100 had gathered in the graveyard.

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Both men were buried in the same plot as Paddy’s son Paudie, who died by suicide in 2012.

John was buried yesterday in a separate plot, where the remains of his brother Jer were buried in 2014. Jer died by suicide.

Gardaí believe that John may have killed his brothers by 6pm on Thursday before driving away from the farm in his Toyota Carolla van at about 10pm to Killacluig near where his body was recovered from the river Funshion at about 1.30pm last Friday.

Post-mortem examinations were conducted on the men at Cork University Hospital by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster. The results were not released for operational reasons.

However, it is understood that Willie and Paddy died of injuries consistent with an assault with an axe. The men suffered shock and haemorrhage associated with trauma from head injuries. John died from drowning.

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