A garda squad accompanying the hearse from the scene of the tragedy. Photo: Paul Mealey

Victim of Mayo shooting tragedy is named locally

A bachelor landowner shot dead at an east Mayo farmhouse just before midnight last night is believed to have been mistaken for an intruder.

The victim, named locally as Brendan Kilduff, from the townland of Sallyhernaun, close to the village of Knock, was fired upon by the elderly owner of a house at Coogue, Ballyhaunis, about three miles away in what is believed to be a tragic accident.

Mr. Kilduff, a farmer who was single, died at the scene. According to local people he was sociable and enjoyed regularly visiting friends and neighbours.

Gardai have revealed that a shotgun was discharged a number of times in the victim’s direction.

It is believed that what was intended to be warning shots were fired after the householder heard what he believed to be an intruder outside his property.

Following the incident, a man in his eighties was arrested at the scene.

A car covered in tarpaulin was visible close to the suspect’s house this morning.

There was broken glass on the road nearby.

The vehicle is understood to belong to Mr. KIlduff who stopped to make a social call after earlier attending a picket at the Dawn Meats plant in Ballyhaunis.

The man arrested by gardaì was held for questioning at Castlebar Garda Station under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

He was subsequently released and a file is being prepared for the DPP.

The parish priest of Knock, Fr. Richard Gibbons, was called upon to administer the last rites to the victim around 1.30 a.m. today.

Fr. Gibbons told Midwest Radio News this afternoon the thoughts and prayers of the entire community are with the families of both men.

“It’s an absolute terrible tragedy”, he commented. “Everybody is trying to come to terms with what has happened”.

Fr. Gibbons continued: “It appears to have been a case where somebody was fearful of a break-in but we are not sure of the exact details yet.”

The fact that both men knew and apparently liked each other has added extra poignancy to the manner of Mr. Kilduff’s death.

Both men, active farmers, were regarded locally as hardworking individuals.

Joining in the tributes Councillor John Caulfield, a Kilkelly based member of Mayo County Council, described the deceased as “a fine singer”.

Councillor Caulfield added: “Brendan was well known right throughout east Mayo. He spent many years working as a mechanic. He was very obliging.”

A locum State Pathologist carried out an examination of the body this afternoon before the remains were removed by hearse to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar.

Gardaí are appealing to anyone with information on the incident to contact Claremorris Garda Station on 094 9372080, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.