• Inquests into the deaths of two young people who died in a single-vehicle car accident in Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo, over three years ago were opened and adjourned yesterday,  because a Garda investigation into the tragedy is ongoing.

     Supt Joe McKenna successfully sought the adjournment of the inquests into the deaths of 18-year old Orla O’Malley from Cross, Co. Mayo, and Sean Thomas Halloran aged 20 of Clonbur, Co. Galway.

    Ms O’Malley was a back seat passenger and Sean Halloran was in the front seat of a car which crashed into a wall at Churchfield, Tourmakeady, in the early hours of June 4, 2017.

     At yesterday's brief hearing, Teresa Mullan, solicitor, said families involved regretted “the ongoing refusal of one of the parties (involved in the accident) to engage with the appropriate authorities.

    She said this was adding to the families’ distress and grief.

     Coroner Pat O’Connor said he fully understood the feeling of the families and said that, in the circumstances, it is important that the course of whatever proceedings there are, are dealt with..

     After hearing evidence about the identification of the deceased and the injuries they sustained, the coroner adjourned finalisation of the inquests to July 19 of next year.






  • A preliminary inquest hearing into the deaths of the four Irish Coast Guard Rescue 116 helicopter crew opened earlier today in Belmullet and has been adjourned.

    The inquests into the deaths of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick, Captain Mark Duffy, and winchmen Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith were due to open in Belmullet in early March, but were postponed due to bad weather conditions.

    The four crew members died when their Coast Guard helicopter crashed at Blackrock island, off the north Mayo coast, in the early hours of March 14th last year.

    At today’s inquest, it was confirmed that Captain Dara Fitzpatrick died by drowning in the early hours of 14th March 2017, prior to arriving at Mayo University Hospital.

    The body of Captain Mark Duffy was found 12 days later, still in the helicopter, and he died from multiple injuries sustained in the crash.

    The bodies of Mr Ormsby and Mr Smith have not been recovered, in spite of extensive air, sea and shore searches, but at today’s inquest, they were officially declared dead, with cause of death “lost at sea”.

    The coroner for north Mayo Dr Eleanor Fitzgerald adjourned the inquests to allow investigations by the Gardai and the Health & Safety Authority to continue, while a separate investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Unit is also continuing.



  • Verdicts of murder were returned this afternoon at inquests into the deaths of two elderly Mayo brothers, who were bludgeoned to death at their home in Castlebar almost seven years ago.

    After delivering his verdicts, the Coroner for Mayo Patrick O’Connor said words fail to express the horror of the “awful tragedy” which befell Thomas (69) Blaine and his brother Jack on July 10, 2013.

    The two brothers, who lived under the care of the HSE at New Antrim Street, Castlebar, were brutally murdered by Alan Cawley of Four Winds, Corrimbla, Ballina.

    Mr Cawley was unanimously found guilty of murder by a jury at the Central Criminal Court and was given the mandatory life sentence by Mr Justice Paul Coffey on July 25, 2017.

    He unsuccessfully sought to appeal his conviction.

    Evidence was given to the Central Criminal Court that Cawley was released from Castlerea prison four days before the killings and was provided with B&B accommodation in Castlebar. 

    He bought a bottle of wine around 5pm on 9 July and was seen drinking three pints of Guinness in pubs later that evening

    The court heard that Cawley inflicted horrific injuries on his victims bludgeoning them with a shovel and one of their walking sticks.

    Pathologist Dr. Fadel Bennani gave evidence at today’s inquest that the cause of Thomas Blaine’s death was blood loss, brain trauma, chest trauma and inhalation of blood due to blunt injuries to his head, face and chest.

     He gave the cause of his brother, Jack Blaine’s, death was blunt force trauma to the head, blood loss, brain injury and obstruction of breathing due to facial injuries.

     The inquest into the death of the Blaine brothers was opened and adjourned in June 2015.

     When the inquest came up for finalisation this afternoon, the coroner described the Blaines as “very special people” loved by all who knew them, who needed protection.

    He said “the tragedy of both deaths is something the Castlebar community will always have on their minds” and he expressed his deepest sympathy with the relatives of the Blaine brothers, their neighbours and friends.