Three dead in 'murder-suicide'
Three members of a family, including twin boys, have been found dead in a suspected double murder and suicide.
The two youngsters, aged nine, were found dead in their home just outside the town of Charleville in north county Cork in the Irish Republic shortly before 5pm today.
About an hour later, a relative of the boys, believed to be aged in his early 20s, was found dead in a forested area near a river just outside the town of Buttevant, about 10 miles from the scene of the first deaths.
Garda detectives are not seeking anyone in connection with his death.
A local priest spent about two hours with family members during two visits in the hours after the deaths were discovered.
Fr Tom Naughton of the Holy Cross Parish in Charleville said: "We prayed together. We comforted them and assured them, especially of the community here in the area, that we were with them.
"It's clear that anybody who suffers a tragedy is going to be upset and hurt at this time but it is quite raw."
It is understood Garda detectives are investigating whether the three died in an apparent murder-suicide.
The alarm was raised when a member of the family arrived home and discovered the youngsters in the detached, pink and white bungalow just off the main Cork-Limerick road, an area of Charleville known as Deerpark.
A major police search was launched for another member of the family.
His body was discovered at a wooded area near the river Awbeg at Castlelands less than a mile from Buttevant.
Arrangements are being made for post-mortem examinations to be carried out tomorrow on all three bodies, most likely to be held at Cork University Hospital.
Gardai said the two young boys who died were pronounced dead at the house.
"The bodies remain at the scene and the area has been sealed off for technical examination. Diversions are in place," the Garda press office said in a statement.
"The office of the State pathologist has been notified and post-mortems are expected to be carried out tomorrow on the bodies of the two children."
Gardai appealed for witnesses or anyone with information to contact them or any other Garda station or to use a dedicated confidential line in Ireland on 1800 666 111.
A number of emergency services vehicles, including ambulances, remained at the scene several hours after the discovery, along with forensic specialists and uniformed officers manning roadblocks.
A large crowd of friends, members of the extended family and the local community gathered on the road outside the property for several hours after the discoveries.
A long line of cars was parked next to nearby ditches on the closed roads.
Gardai erected two checkpoints on the northern and southern sides of the main road about two miles from the house, believed to be the family home of the two boys.
If the murder-suicide suspicions are confirmed, it will be the second incident of its kind in Ireland in just over six weeks.
Two brothers died in a tragedy at their home in rural Sligo in late July - nine-year-old Brandon Skeffington was found with stab wounds in the family home at Banada, Tourlestrane near Tubbercurry, before the body of his older brother Shane junior, 21, was found in a shed beside the property.
It was the first murder-suicide to occur in Ireland for more than a year.
A study released last August examined 19 similar incidents over a 13-year period from January 2001 to the end of June last year.
The report revealed that on average one murder-suicide incident happens per year and 46 people died in the period under review.