Locals speak in hushed tones about trouble in the O’Sullivan family – but for many who new them, the shock of the tragedy is all the greater because they had seemed so happy. One local farmer who knew Tadgh O’Sullivan since childhood said he never once saw him frown.
“He was always smiling. Since he was a boy he was smiling. I know him all my life and I never saw him angry or otherwise. He was a pleasant easy-going and polite person, he always was like that.
“Everyone who encountered Tadgh for whatever reason through his work in Buttevant would say the same thing about him.
“He was proud of those lads and a part of me keeps thinking this is all one big mistake.”
Castlemagner is a small rural village just two kilometres from the O’Sullivan farm in Allossus, where Tadgh, Mark and Diarmuid lost their lives in almost unimaginable circumstances.
The boys played for the GAA club and the family shared their joys and sorrows in the local church.
Cars rarely pass through the main street but as locals wrestle with the horror of the tragedy, one local man says he has never seen it so quiet.
‘It’s like the air and the energy has been zapped from the town. It’s so quiet and still. I was heading to Kanturk earlier and I passed the road where all the guards had been parked and it’s so grey and cold there.
“It didn’t feel like that before this happened.
“We went down to the local co-op yesterday and normally we would chat and talk and have a laugh but we all just stood there silently. Nobody knows what to say- everyone is totally shell shocked.”
A neighbour of the O’Sulliva’s said: “These are our people that we know so well and now we are reading about them on Facebook and in the paper.
“People are only talking about what happened, but that family shared great moments of success and happiness.
“You can see that in the pictures of Mark’s graduation. You can see a woman’s hand on his shoulder. The human touch, the touch of pride and love of a family was in that image. They definitely had happy days.
“And that shouldn’t be forgotten. This terrible thing happened but it doesn’t wipe out the past, the good times.”
“What lies ahead for us as a community, as neighbours and friends, is going to be very tough.
“I hope we can support Ann and each other.
“You need a lot to bring a community together when something like this happens.
“Everyone is just heartbroken for Ann. It’s hard to imagine how anyone can carry that burden of pain.”
Local priest Fr John Magner, who met with Ann O’Sullivan after administering a final blessing to her husband and sons, said it was impossible to describe her loss.
“You cannot put words into how she felt,” Fr Magner said.
Fr Magner said the people of Castlemagner parish said the community has been left “numbed, stunned and devastated” by the deaths.
“To find that friends they have are just gone, departing this world so early in life,” he said.
“It’s awful for families too when people pass away very young. It’s very tough for people.
“It’s very difficult for youn ger people to understand why all these things happen.”
Source: Irish News