"HE was a lovely little lad, as bright as a button."
This was the touching tribute paid to nine-year-old Brandon Skeffington who was murdered by his older brother Shane in an incident which has shocked the country, left a community reeling and a family shattered.
The two boys were cousins of former Irish footballer and Manchester City and Everton star Terry Phelan (inset). Their father Shane is a first cousin of Phelan.
The boys' parents Carmel and Shane and their siblings Sharon (15) and three-year-old Callum were being supported by their extended family today.
The family had moved to the rural community near Tubbercurry, Co Sligo just seven years earlier to give their four children the best upbringing possible.
But one neighbour described yesterday how their dream home and life was left in tatters after the tragic deaths.
Neighbour Gerry Meehan told how Brandon could often be seen playing at his rural home with his siblings.
"They were a lovely family, lovely children. You would see them playing behind the house together. They kept to themselves a bit but Shane built that home himself, a dream house and now it's come crashing down," he said.
As the rural community struggled with the double tragedy, local parish priest Fr John Glynn remembered Brandon, a popular third class student, as "a bright, lively little lad".
"He was in the national school in Banada, he would have been going into fourth class after the summer. He was a bright lively little lad. He was a lovely little lad, as bright as a button," he said.
"Everyone is just broken-hearted about it here. The community is shocked and saddened by this. We are meeting with the parents this evening and there will be support available," he added.
The family had moved to the area from Tubbercurry seven years ago where they were popular members of the community.
A muted air lay over the communities of Banada and Turlestrane as news of the tragic murder-suicide sank in.
Parents looking for ways to explain the tragedy to Brandon's young friends met with local principal Lorcan Brennan and staff from the three teacher Banada National School along with the parish priest last night. They were told that all necessary counselling services would be made available to Brandon's little classmates and other students.