Death of five family members in house thought to be murder-suicide

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A family of five found dead in their countryside home in the Irish midlands were most likely victims of a murder-suicide, investigators believe.

The bodies of a father, aged his 40s, his wife, aged in her 30s, and their three sons - aged 13, 11 and six - were discovered at the house in Oakdene Downs in the townland of Barconey, near Ballyjamesduff, in Co Cavan.

Garda assistant commissioner John O'Driscoll said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

"We believe all the answers are within that house - so therefore the most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the death of the others," he said.

"All the circumstances will be explored but as it stands at the moment that is the position."

Mr O'Driscoll described the case as very sensitive.

Two of the bodies were found in a downstairs room while three others were discovered upstairs in bedrooms.

Investigating gardai have found no evidence that a firearm was used.

A technical examination being carried out at the property - which has been sealed off as a crime scene - and follow up post mortem examinations are expected to give a more definitive answer as to the cause of the deaths.

A number of objects found in the house are also being subjected to "detailed technical examination".

The family had been mixing with the local community on Sunday and did not raise any suspicions as to what would later happen, Mr O'Driscoll told reporters.

"Nothing had happened prior to this grim discovery this morning that gave rise to anyone - including An Garda Siochana - having any suspicion that anything was untoward and this family were engaged with the community and seen yesterday," he said.

"None of the activity and interaction with other people gave rise to any suspicion as to what was to happen."

The alarm was raised at around 10:45am on Monday after someone, thought to be a relative, called to the house but got no answer.

Two officers dispatched to the scene from Monaghan Garda station gained entry to the house and made the grim discovery.

Investigators are continuing to talk to neighbours and the extended family of the victims to piece together clues as to what happened.