Gardaí today search an area outside Killarney near an old holy well in connection with the brutal murder of grandmother Miriam Burns, 75.
The search is said to be directly linked to the arrest of a man in his 50s in South Kerry on suspicion of the murder of the pensioner and mother of four.
Uniformed officers and detectives began a detailed search this morning.
A source said the main objective of the search was to recover clothing and materials from the area that could possibly be linked to the murder.
Forensic scientists support the search.
Gardaí believe the grandmother was fatally assaulted in her home sometime between Friday and Monday.
Detectives fear Miriam Burns was brutally beaten to death at her home by someone she knows – and had been dead for some time when she was discovered Monday lunchtime.
Gardaí on Tuesday night launched a murder investigation into the death of the kind-hearted grandmother, who was hailed as “Killarney’s smiling wife”.
Detectives arrested a man in his 50s within an hour of confirming the murder investigation.
The man, who was arrested in the South Kerry area, was taken to Killarney Garda Station where he has been detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and can be questioned for up to 24 hours.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Killarney’s defense attorney Padraig O’Connell visited Garda Station and will act on the person’s behalf.
The man has already been medically examined and has taken both meal and rest breaks.
His prison term now expires on Thursday, by when Gardaí must decide whether to charge him or release him.
Gardaí refused to release the results of an autopsy for operational reasons – but confirmed they are now treating the pensioner’s death as a homicide.
“On Tuesday at University Hospital Kerry (UHK), State Pathologist Dr. Margot Bolster performed an autopsy, the results of which will not be published for operational reasons,” said a Garda spokesman.
“A detention room was set up at Killarney Garda Station and a murder investigation was launched under the direction of a senior investigating officer. A family liaison officer has been appointed and continues to keep the family informed of the investigation.”
“Gardaí is appealing to all those who were in the Ardshanavooly area of Killarney between 5pm Friday (12th August) and 1pm Monday (15th August) and observed activities that caught their attention, to report.”
No funeral details have been released for Mrs. Burns as of yet.
Emotional tributes were paid to Mrs Burns, who was hailed as “Killarney’s smiling lady” by shocked friends and neighbors.
Some residents of the Ardshanavooly estate on the outskirts of Killarney wept openly as they remembered an elegant, kind-hearted lady who had a smile for everyone.
Ms Burns was found dead in a living room of her two-storey terrace house on Monday midday.
Neighbors had called the house after one of Ms Burns’ children, who lives abroad, was deeply concerned at not being able to reach her.
They were horrified when they discovered the pensioner lifeless in the living room – and in shock at the visible injuries she had suffered, they immediately called Gardaí.
Gardaí and paramedics rushed to the scene, but Ms Burns is believed to have been dead for some time.
Garda sources said they were immediately suspicious of the nature of Ms Burns’ injuries and whether they could have been sustained in an accidental fall.
The pensioner was spotted with dried blood visible around her head and face.
It is believed that she was the victim of a brutal attack.
Investigators are now trying to confirm the woman’s last known movements.
Local sources said Ms Burns – who has been very active in a number of groups in Killarney – has not been seen at the scene since last Friday night.
A Garda source said a key element of their investigation will be trying to determine exactly when the pensioner died.
Investigators are also trying to confirm who may have been in contact with the deceased in the hours leading up to her death.
There was no sign of forced entry into the townhouse.
House-to-house surveys were conducted in what is described by locals as a very quiet residential part of Killarney.
CCTV surveillance camera footage from the area, which is close to a Tesco mall and a McDonald’s outlet, is expected to prove crucial to the investigation.
The pensioner has lived in the Ardshanavooly area for most of her adult life but is said to be originally from Milltown.
She comes from a large and well respected family in South Kerry.
Mrs. Burns was known as an avid gardener and for the stunning roses she grew.
Councilor Donal Grady, who lives in Ardshanavooly, paid tribute to Miriam Burns, whom he knew personally and described as a wonderful mother and grandmother.
“The smiling lady is gone,” he said.
“This is a great loss for Killarney. She had a kind word for everyone. She had a smile for everyone — but now that smile is gone.”
“This is a very narrow city. Everyone here knows everyone and their loss will be deeply felt.”
Ms Burns had lived on the old housing estate since the 1970s and was known for her involvement in community groups and her fondness for cycling to destinations around Killarney.
Neighbors said they saw Ms Burns on her bike almost every day around the property and in the town centre.
Her neighbor Ann Cronin said it was “a desperate tragedy” for the Killarney estate, family and the entire community.
“She really was a lovely person. She was very good to her family, friends and neighbors. To be honest, everyone is desperate.”
Neighbor Paul O’Shea fought back tears at the news of her death.
“It’s awful, really awful. She was a lovely, lovely woman. She had a kind word for everyone she met. It (the tragedy) hurts.”
Tom Wharton, who lived in Ardshanavooly for seven years, said Mrs Burns always had a cheerful wave and a warm smile for the neighbours.
“It’s such a sad, sad story. It’s a desperate thing to happen, especially to such a nice woman.”
Councilor Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan said it was a desperately sad day for Killarney.
“She was a very elegant lady and a kind person.”
“Miriam has a large extended family in Killarney and they really are fabulous people. They are well known and highly respected in the city. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them.”
“This has impacted every part of Killarney. Miriam was a lovely woman and you would see her up and down town on her bike. She was a fabulous woman who was always smiling and giving a warm wave to everyone she met. She loved talking to people and she chatted all day.”
Ardshanavooly is a popular residential area within walking distance of Killarney town center and popular local amenities such as the Killarney Outlet Centre.
Ms. Burns loved to travel and regularly visited European cities.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/gardai-search-area-outside-killarney-in-connection-with-brutal-murder-of-grandmother-miriam-burns-41917189.html Gardaí search area outside of Killarney in connection with the brutal murder of Kerry’s grandmother, Miriam Burns