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Saturday 10 December 2016

'We are trying to cope with a tragedy beyond our understanding' - funeral of tragic Hawe family is told

Published 03/09/2016 | 17:42

The remains of Clodagh Hawe arrive at the church for funeral mass in Castlerahan. Photo: Gerry Mooney.
The remains of Clodagh Hawe arrive at the church for funeral mass in Castlerahan. Photo: Gerry Mooney.
Mourners carry the coffins into the church in Co Cavan
The remains of Liam Hawe follow his mother Clodagh as they arrive at the church for funeral mass in Castlerahan. Photo:Gerry Mooney.
A white coffin is brought into the church by mourners
The five hearses carrying the remains of the Hawe Family, Alan and Clodagh and their three children as they made their way to St Mary's Church Castlerahan near Ballyjamesduff. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

A Cavan community is "trying to cope with a tragedy beyond our understanding", a priest at the funeral of the tragic Hawe family said today.

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Fr Felim Kelly told thousands gathered at Saint Mary's Church in Castlerahan "It is not for us to seek answers or to surmise about behaviour", during a homily at the funerals of Alan (41), Clodagh (39) and their children Liam (13), Niall (11), Ryan (6).

The five hearses carrying the remains of the Hawe Family, Alan and Clodagh and their three children as they made their way to St Mary's Church Castlerahan near Ballyjamesduff. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
The five hearses carrying the remains of the Hawe Family, Alan and Clodagh and their three children as they made their way to St Mary's Church Castlerahan near Ballyjamesduff. Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Fr Felim Kelly told the congregation how he had visited the family on Christmas Day and described how they welcomed him into their home.

He recalled how the Hawe children, Liam, Niall and Ryan were "unspoiled and respectful".

He told mourners: "I know I was calling to see close friends and knew the welcome, Clodagh with her scones, red jam and mug of coffee, Liam, Niall and Ryan busily like budding engineers building all kinds of Lego.  More importantly they invited the old man and indeed showed him how to go about some intricate structures.

“Alan standing with his back to the kitchen sink totally at ease enjoying the bean an tí and the antics of unspoiled and respectful sons.  Though it must be said Ryan the youngest had the eyes of a rogue and a beguiling manner.  That is my abiding memory of a family at Christmas.

“The family played an amazing part in the life of their schools as teachers, held in the highest regard by colleagues, parents and children, respectful of all in their care and so co-operative in every possible way.  The children, gifted pupils, team players, budding leaders, warm friends.  What a loss.”

Tragic mother Clodagh and her sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were killed by father Alan Hawe, a deputy principal, before he took his own life at the family home in Co Cavan.

The remains of Liam Hawe follow his mother Clodagh as they arrive at the church for funeral mass in Castlerahan. Photo:Gerry Mooney.
The remains of Liam Hawe follow his mother Clodagh as they arrive at the church for funeral mass in Castlerahan. Photo:Gerry Mooney.

Thousands of mourners turned out to pay their respects to the family of five who will be buried together in the cemetery adjoining St Mary's Church.

During the funeral mourners watched as Alan’s uncle Philip placed a Kilkenny jersey on Alan’s coffin.

Clodagh’s mother Mary placed a family photograph on Clodagh’s coffin, as the family prepared to be laid to rest together.

A basketball was placed on Liam’s coffin, while a trophy was placed on Niall’s coffin to remember their sporting achievements.

A white coffin is brought into the church by mourners
A white coffin is brought into the church by mourners

Gerry, known to Ryan (6) as “Grandad”, placed a woolly dog on his coffin.

Read More: Family won't 'demonise' Alan as tragic Hawes to be laid to rest together

Fr Felim Kelly asked “How so much goodness could be destroyed?”

“There is a dark side too.  How so much goodness could be destroyed?  How such happiness could be invaded?  How?  Why?  It is not for us to seek answers or to surmise about behaviour.

“We all are trying to cope with a tragedy beyond our understanding.  Clodagh, Alan, Liam, Niall and Ryan are at peace,” he said.

School vice-principal Alan Hawe with his wife Clodagh and their children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6)
School vice-principal Alan Hawe with his wife Clodagh and their children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6)

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