Gardaí investigating the murder of two brothers in their home on New Antrim Street in the early hours of Wednesday morning continued questioning a 26-year-old man yesterday evening (Thursday ). At the time of going to print the man had not been charged but was being detained at Castlebar Garda Station under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act where he could be questioned for up to 24 hours. It is believed he has lived in Ballina and and more recently in Castlebar and is known to the gardaí and the psychiatric services.
The deceased men have been named as Jack and Tom Blaine aged 70 and 68 years respectively. The bodies of the two men were found at approximately 7am on Wednesday morning by their home help assistant.
Gardaí confirmed that one body was found on a bedroom floor and the other in the back yard.
The State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy arrived at the crime scene shortly after 3pm on Wednesday where she carried out a preliminary examination of the bodies before removing them to Mayo General Hospital for a post mortem examination. A garda forensic examination of the scene continued late into the night on Wednesday.
It is believed that the town CCTV system and security cameras from private businesses have assisted the gardaí in their investigations.
At a press conference outside Castlebar Garda Station on Wednesday Superintendent David Taylor assured the public that every resource available would be used to bring the investigation to a successful conclusion. He said the results of the forensic examination and post mortem would determine the direction of the investigation.
Supt Taylor said several witnesses had come forward with information on Wednesday and he appealed to the public to assist gardaí with their investigations. An incident room has been set up at Castlebar Garda Station and anyone with information can contact them on 094 902 2222 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111. The gardaí are appealing to people who may have been in the area between 9pm on Tuesday night and 7am on Wednesday morning to come forward if they witnessed anything suspicious.
Meetings of the Castlebar Electoral Area Committee and Castlebar Town Council were both adjourned yesterday (Thursday ) as a mark of respect to the deceased men. At both meetings councillors paid tributes to the Blaine brothers. Following the Town Council meeting, members laid a wreath outside the house of the two victims on behalf of the people of Castlebar. A book of condolence has also been opened outside the house on New Antrim Street.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny has expressed his shock at what he described as a “brutal and savage murder” of two men he knew well. The murder happened only doors away from the Taoiseach’s constituency office and he has expressed his hope that the person or persons responsible are brought to justice.
Meanwhile Deputy Mayor of Castlebar Cllr Ger Deere said there is no place in society for the person or persons who carried out this crime. “The whole town is in absolute shock. Jack and Tom were the most innocent and well respected gentlemen known by young and old,” he told the Mayo Advertiser adding that there was widespread anger across town.