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South Mayo shooting shock

South Mayo shooting shock

Arrest made after death of 71-year-old farmer

Edwin McGreal


THE south Mayo village of Glencorrib was ‘in shock and disbelief’ yesterday following the killing of a well-known local farmer on Sunday afternoon.
Tommy Biggins (71) of Wallpark, Glencorrib, died from gunshot wounds at University Hospital Galway after being shot by his own shotgun at the family farm.
A 33-year-old man was still being questioned at Claremorris Garda Station last night in connection with the incident. Gardaí had until shortly after midnight to either charge the man or release him. He was arrested at the scene and is believed to be a relative of Tommy Biggins.
The victim was a respected farmer and his killing has shocked the rural community.“It is an awful tragedy, shock and disbelief are the main emotions locally,” said Cllr Damian Ryan, a local member of Mayo County Council who knew Mr Biggins. “He would have been very well-known. He has a substantial dairy farm and he ran it in a very progressive manner. He was very well got locally,” added Cllr Ryan.
As word emerged that the man arrested was a relative of the deceased, Cllr Ryan admitted it further heightened the tragedy.
“A lot of people are not saying a lot about it because of the nature of the killing, that it was family- related. It makes it all the more tragic. It is a desperate tragedy to happen in any area. I convey my deepest sympathies to the family,” he said.
Gardaí were alerted to the shooting shortly after lunchtime on Sunday and when they arrived at the scene, they found Mr Biggins in a critical condition. He was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway, some twenty miles away, and died at 4.30pm.
Gardaí recovered a double-barrel shotgun and two used cartridges at the scene.
The arrested man was being questioned at Claremorris Garda Station where he could be held for 24 hours without charge. Gardaí since received a 12-hour extension to allow them to detain the man until the early hours of today (Tuesday) before having to either charge or release him.
In the rural, tight-knit community of Glencorrib, locals expressed shock about the incident.
“Tommy would have been well-known locally and respected but they would have been a quiet family too. You would pass them on the road or meet them at Mass and Tommy would always try to do you a turn if he could. He was a very hard worker and ran the farm very well,” said one neighbour. Unfortunately this wasn’t the first time that a tragic killing happened in the area either.
“Some people are saying that the likes of this has never happened here before. Unfortunately they are wrong because Padraig Nally shot John Ward less than a mile from the Biggins’s homeland. It’s very tragic for such a quiet and peaceful rural area to think that two incidents like that have taken place so close together in the past year,” said another neighbour.
Tommy Biggins was married to Kathleen (nee Hyland) from Shrule and the couple had six children, three sons and three daughters. One daughter died a number of years ago. The farmhouse, located close to Lough Corrib, is the Biggins family home. Tommy was the only member of his immediate family living in Glencorrib, his other siblings having all emigrated. No funeral arrangements had been released at the time of going to press.

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