A priest in Kanturk, Co Cork, has said the community is "numb and stunned" after the deaths of a father and his two sons in a shooting.

The bodies of Tadhg O'Sullivan, 59, and his sons, Mark, 26, and 23-year-old Diarmuid, were found with gunshot wounds on the family farm near Kanturk yesterday.

At mass in the area this morning, prayers were said for the family and for its only surviving member, Ann O'Sullivan.

She is believed to be staying with neighbours and the family has asked for privacy as they try to come to terms with the events of yesterday.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Fr John Magner said he had spoken to Mrs O'Sullivan and she is "absolutely devastated".

He said that while he did not know the family personally, he is sure the parish will come together to support Mrs O'Sullivan and each other during this time.

"To find that friends they have are just gone, departing this world so early in life," Fr Magner said. 

"It's very tough on people. It's very difficult for younger people to understand why all these things happen," he added.

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Tadhg O'Sullivan and his sons Mark and Diarmuid died in the incident

A former classmate of Mark O'Sullivan described him as "a very gentle soul, a nice guy who was always helping".

Siddhant Shahane, a former classmate of Mark's at UCC, said he and his fellow classmates were "pretty shocked" when they heard the news.

They both graduated from a Masters in Business Law in February 2019.

Diarmuid O'Sullivan concluded his studies at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) last June and was due to be conferred with a First Class Honours degree in Accounting next week.

Head of Student Affairs Dr Dan Collins said the entire CIT community was in shock as news of the tragic deaths unfolded yesterday.

In a statement, he said: "There are no words anyone can say to express how people are feeling. This tragedy is heartbreaking, and we extend our thoughts and sympathy to his mother, Ann. We also keep in our thoughts, and prayers, his brother Mark and his father Tadhg.

"We are mindful at this time of his friends, classmates, and staff of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems, as well as the extended family and neighbours."

Dr Collins said that staff described Diarmuid as a young man with promise, who was a hard worker, respected, and held in high regard by staff and students alike.

Meanwhile, the Assistant PRO of Castlemagner GAA club, where both O'Sullivan brothers played up to a young age, described the family as "very well-liked".

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Paul Gallagher said we are used to seeing stories such as this on television screens "rather than right outside your own window".

He said the community will rally around Mrs O'Sullivan as best they can to try to help her through this difficult time.