Children Minister 'deeply shocked and saddened' by Cavan murder-suicide
Children Minister Katherine Zappone said she was “deeply shocked and saddened” by the murder suicide that occured in Cavan last week.
Ms Zappone was speaking at the official launch of Women's Aid's new 24-hour helpline.
The organisation has reported a spike in contacts from women since the horrific incident in Ballyjamesduff.
School vice-principal Alan Hawe (41) killed his wife, Clodagh (39), and their sons, Liam (15), Niall (11) and six-year-old Ryan before taking his own life. The bodies were found in the family home last Monday.
Ms Zappone said: “I am deeply shocked and saddened by what happened in Cavan.
“I think it's important to say not too much about the case itself.
“My sympathies are with the family of course and the community and particularly the children who have lost their friends and colleagues.”
“But rather than to focus on that one case which may add to the grief of the extended family I think it's really important to say that the government is keen to support families who are in distress.”
She said that “violence does occur” and highlighted the Women's Aid helpline which was officially extended to 24-hours today.
She said she would encourage women at risk of domestic violence “to ring the helpline to look for support,” adding: “that's the first step towards a new life.”
The helpline was extended to 24-hours in January despite a 20pc cut in government funding last year.
Women's Aid needs another €75,000 to fund the service until the end of 2016.
Asked if the government will provide additional funding, Ms Zappone said ministers are begining negotiations on spending estimates and that she is meeting Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe today.
“Of course it's very important to see that we can get more money into services like Women's Aid,” she said.
Women's Aid director Margaret Martin said the organisation has seen a 30pc increase in contacts with its website since the tragedy in Cavan last week.
Last year women disclosed on 970 occasions that their partners threatened to kill them, Ms Martin added.
Women's Aid answered almost 2,000 'out of hours' calls in the first six months of the year since the helpline went 24-hours.
The Women's Aid freephone Helpline number is: 1800 341 900