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Mum-of-six shot dead by boyfriend in murder-suicide

A MOTHER-OF-SIX was shot dead by her lover in a tragic murder-suicide. John Deegan (53) is thought to have killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself in a B&B.


The father-of-two separated from his wife Eileen last year and had been in a relationship with Deirdre Keenan from Co Kildare for six months.

The 51-year-old victim was a well respected mother-of-six, including triplets.

The couple were found dead at the Stonehaven B&B in Carlow yesterday with gunshots wounds to their heads.

A senior source said today: “Gardai are trying to piece together exactly what happened here but are satisfied that it is a murder suicide.

“Officers are dealing with two families who are in a state of very deep pain here and the full truth of what happened may never be established.”

The Herald has also learned that one of Mr Deegan’s daughters is due to get married next month.


The Herald has learned that Mr Deegan (54), from just outside Ballycumber in Co Offaly, was due to attend his daughter Joanne's wedding on March 23

A local source said: "This is such a tragedy. He was always regarded as a lovely man and nobody can understand how or why this happened.

"It's really awful for the family now because they were in the final stages of planning Joanne's wedding."

The family are well known in the area with Mr Deegan's second daughter Miriam working as a waitress in the Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore.

Mr Deegan is originally from Cadamstown, Co Offaly.

He later lived in Ballycumber before moving to the rural community of Lumcloon, near Cloghan, Co Offaly.

Local publican in Cadamstown Jim Dempsey said people in the community only found out of the tragedy last night.

"I only got a phone call about it a while ago.I know very little about it. I knew John growing up but he left here long ago. He is gone from here a long time now. He moved to Ballycumber a good while back.

"God help them, it is an awful sad thing," Mr Dempsey said.

A source close to the investigation told the Herald: "The early indications are that Mr Deegan was obviously suffering some very deep form of trauma but why he did what he did we just don't know.

"There is nothing in his past to suggest such volatility or criminal behaviour."

The couple checked into the B&B on Saturday and were seen socialising around Carlow that night and on Sunday. The last reported sighting of them was at about 10pm on Sunday.

It is understood that they had travelled to Wexford on Friday and had told friends they were going away for a few days.

A neighbour of Ms Keenan's family in the Cois na Feadain Housing Estate in Naas said: "Everyone is very shocked about what has happened.

"Deirdre was a lovely lady and she was a great neighbour since she and her husband Charlie and their six children moved in when the estate was built eight years ago.

"Deirdre had a great personality and she was very popular and would be out with her children. They have all grown up now, including the triplets."

The woman added: "Although we hear about these shooting tragedies on the radio, you never think it's to happen to someone you know. It's a terrible tragedy."

"Deirdre used to have a job delivering the Herald bundles to shops around the town. She was well known as she was a native of Naas," she said.