*Joe and Claire Collins. 

THE families of suspected ‘murder-suicide’ couple, Joe and Claire Collins from Kilnaboy have come together to publish a notice thanking their wonderful friends and neighbours, who have been on hand with “many, many fond memories of our beloved Claire and Joe”.

In a published acknowledgment ahead of a joint Month’s Mind mass “for Claire and Joe” which is to take place in Kilnaboy on Friday evening, the notice states that “we, the families of Claire and Joe would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who have sympathised with us on our recent tragic loss on the 9th of November”.

On November 9th last, the bodies of the couple were found at their home at Crossard, Kilnaboy, Co Clare and Gardai are treating the deaths as a suspected ‘murder suicide’ where Joe Collins (54) is believed to have killed his Claire (51) who was found dead in the bedroom of their home before Mr Collins took his own life in an outhouse at the detached bungalow.

In the published acknowledgement, the families of the couple state “we will be forever grateful for the overwhelming love, support and kind gestures shown to us during this challenging time”.

They add that “the support from the communities of Kilnaboy and Corofin have been a great source of comfort to us during these immensely difficult days. Your continuing kindness and prayers are an ongoing source of consolation”.

The families further add “to all those who have reached out with words and gestures of sympathy and encouragement over the past number of weeks, we are eternally grateful”.

The notice in today’s Clare Champion newspaper is accompanied by a wedding day photo of the smiling couple and the notice adds “a special word of thanks to our wonderful friends and neighbours, who have been on hand with meals, company and many, many fond memories of our beloved Claire and Joe, we are so thankful”.

The families state that the gentle and supportive presence of Fr Des Hillery “has been of immense comfort to everyone you have given your time to”.

The families further state that “to Claire’s fantastic friends at the Burren Centre in Kilfenora and to Joe’s brilliant group at Dolmen Cycling Club, thank you for speaking for them often and the stories you shared with us”.

The notice adds “to those who travelled and queued for hours to pay their respects, thank you for your warm words and your shared grief”.

The notice also thanks members of staff at Zimmer Biomet in Shannon for the guard of honour outside Shannon crematorium and to Dolmen Cycling Club for the guard of honour outside the Church.

The notice also thanks the Gardaí and Emergency Services “who assisted our families in every way possible during the many difficult days before and after the funeral”.

The notice adds “to those who were not able to be present in person, through messages of condolence, who sent Mass cards and were on the phone, you remind us that we are not alone as we navigate our way through these difficult days”.

The families state that “as it is impossible to name everyone individually, please accept this acknowledgement as an expression of our heartfelt gratitude”.

Providing an update on the Garda investigation into the suspected ‘murder suicide’, a Clare Garda spokesman said on Thursday “numerous people have been interviewed and statements taken. CCTV footage has been examined to help trace the final movements of both and anyone who interacted with them”.

The spokesman said that Gardaí will present a file to the County Coroner, Isobel O’Dea who will fix a date for inquest.

The spokesman said that the file is not complete at this stage. He said, “There are certain strands as regards forensics and so on that would take a bit of time”.

He said, “A lot of work has been done up until now. The investigation is not going in any other direction than what we said initially in that we are not looking for anyone else in relation to the investigation”.

He said, “We have the preliminary post mortem reports but we are still waiting on a full post mortem report and these reports can take some time”. He said, “It would the norm that a Garda file wouldn’t be complete within three months.”

The Clare Garda spokesman confirmed that no weapon was recovered from the scene. He said, “Once completed, we will submit the investigation file to the coroner for the inquest to be held in due course”.

The couple – who recently became grand-parents – are survived by daughters Sara and Tara and members of the wider Meere and Collins families.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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