A MAN who was shot dead by his brother and dad was described as “the greatest son a mother could have” and there was “unbreakable” bond between them.
Mark O’Sullivan, 25, died almost instantly after being hit by seven bullet from two guns used by his dad Tadg, 59 and younger brother Diarmuid, 23, as he lay in his bed on Monday morning last.
After his murder, they went to a field on the family farm and killed themselves in a suicide pact.
Around 300 friends of Mark’s formed a guard of honour as his coffin was brought into the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kanturk for a funeral mass today – attended by family members only in accordance with Covid-19 regulations.
Heartbroken mum Anne followed the coffin, dressed in black and supported by two friends who linked by her arms.
As the mass ended, Mark’s cousin Barry Sherlock read out a tribute from his best friend Sharmilla Rahman, who was unable to attend his funeral as she is living abroad.
She revealed that Mark was known to his friends as “Mother Mark” and was given the nickname “because he could make you feel loved and wanted from the smallest gestures”.
Her tribute said: “Mark and I were best friends. I would like to express my deepest condolences to Anne and the rest of the family. Mark was the greatest son a mother could have and I know the bond between them was unbreakable.
“He had such a big heart and so much love to give as a friend. I know that but I can’t begin to imagine how much effort and love he put into being Anne’s son.
“I first met Mark when we studied Law at University of Limerick. I remember putting my name beside his to work on a case together in our first year, not knowing it would spark a great friendship between us.
“From then on, I was drawn to Mark, his kindness, sense of humour and ability to make you feel at home and Mark was home for our time together, he was the person I would seek comfort from and shelter from and he would receive the same from me.
“A mutual friends of ours recently said that Mark and I were soulmates. I always referred to him as my best friend but that never seemed quite right. Yes, we were best friends but our connection always felt like it was so much more, like we were meant to be in one another’s lives.”
She added: “How could two so very different people get on so well – Mark, reserved and sensible, I loud and spontaneous. I guess we were soulmates I didn’t have a word for it until now.
“Mark has taught me so much and shown me what a true friendship is.
“I will always remember our times spent living together, both in Ireland and in Greece, hearing each other laugh through the walls because one of us has sent a funny text, waking up every morning to sit at the end of his bed for a chat before we would walk to the college together.
“Mark was the most caring and selfless person I ever met, so caring and selfless that he earned the nickname Mother Mark.
“He could make you feel loved and wanted from the smallest gestures. I would come into the room for a chat and his immediate reaction was to reach into his drawer and throw a chocolate bar at me.
“He would come back to our college home every Sunday and bring us food as we would sit and chat and laugh the rest of the night away, catching up on each other’s news as if we hadn’t just seen each other two days prior.
“We always missed each other’s company, no matter how long we had been apart and being there for me at my highs and lows, never making me feel as though I was anything less than special to him and he was incredibly special to me.”
Sharmilla’s tribute continued: “As we finished college we naturally went on to do different things in life. I moved abroad but we still stayed in touch every single day.
“For three years after college, this never stopped. The dynamics of our friendship never changed, no matter where we were in our lives.
“He embraced my now husband as an extension of myself, marking sure he was also cared for. That’s who Mark was – his care for others was always his priority.
“Each time I would come back home, he was always ready to see me, his infectious laugh and sense of humour always reminded me why we were the best of friends.
“I struggle to put into words how strong our friendship was and how amazing Mark was as a person.
“To say he was amazing seems like an injustice to who he really was. He was charming, funny, caring, bright, selfless, hardworking, honest, intelligent but also so much more, words can’t describe Mark for who he was.
“There are no words to describe a person like him but anyone who knew him, knows that they were blessed to have him put in their lives and how incredible he was.
“Mark, you are my best friend forever. I love you.”
The small congregation stood up and applauded when Barry finished the tribute.
On Friday, the funeral mass of Mark’s dad and brother Tadg and Diarmuid’s was held in St Mary’s Church in Castlemagner. They were buried in St Brigid’s Cemetery in the O’Sullivan family plot.
Mark was buried in St Patrick’s Cemetery, also in Castlemagner, with Anne’s parents and his grandparents, Ann and Timothy Cronin.
The double suicide-murder happened at Assolas, about four miles from the north Cork market town of Kanturk and two miles from Castlemagner village, where the family was deeply integrated into the local community.
Gardai believe the horrendous tragedy resulted from a long contentious dispute over a will in which mum Anne was leaving the valuable 115 acres at Raheen, Kanturk to Mark.
An only child, she had inherited it from her parents and in keeping with Irish rural tradition she was handing it on to her first born.
As the village mourned Mark at his funeral, chief celebrant Fr Toby Bluitt said in his homily: “Grief is never an easy burden to bear and never more so when it comes to us in what can only be described as an untimely, shocking and tragic way.
“We gather in such grief today, carrying a burden that not only seems to be, but in fact is overwhelming.
“We gather to comfort and support each other in our common loss. We gather to make sense of the senseless.
The Parish Priest had officiated on Friday at the funeral Mass for Tadg and Diarmuid which was also attended by Anne.
He said: “I will reiterate the words of the homily from yesterday because the reality of this heartbreaking loss has not changed.
“The loss of three people created in God’s image. Three men loved equally by God. A God who knows that we are not perfect, a God who sees through our mistaken actions. A God who is our creator, our Father, our forgiver.
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“Today’s Gospel from Luke which depicts the Passion of Christ speaks of a darkness coming over the whole world, indeed it seemed like that same darkness, the darkest hour of creation – enveloped the O’Sullivan family and the local community here and in Castlemagner over the past number of days.
“The normally tranquil local area blanketed at this time of year with a myriad of colourful autumn leaves became a hive of activity and the autumn light was, for a time, a very distant memory.
“The shock, the numbness, the devastation, was impossible to imagine and the unfolding news of the loss of three lives was incomprehensible.”