Monday 27 February 2017

Brighid McLaughlin: 'There are women like Siobhan trying to convince their families they're fine'

It's 10 years since my sister died at the hands of a controlling man, writes Brighid McLaughlin. My mother feels duty-bound to help prevent this happening to anyone else

Brighid McLaughlin

HAPPIER TIMES: Siobhan Kearney holds her mum’s hand
HAPPIER TIMES: Siobhan Kearney holds her mum’s hand
The family (from L-R) Niamh, Brighid, Caroline, Ann Marie, Owen (father), Deirdre (mother), sisters
Siobhan Kearney with her son Daniel and sisters Brighid and Aisling

Out in a square of light, in the foyer of Fitzpatrick's Hotel, Killiney, I saw mum standing. She pressed my hand. "Nobody realises the damage this has done to us," she says. "It may be 10 years since Siobhan died, but it is like yesterday. That is why I want you to write an article about her and how this savagery can happen to any woman. I know you don't want to write it, it's too painful, but we are duty-bound to help prevent this happening to someone else. I don't want anyone to die like she did. Ever. I just have to do something positive," she says by way of apology.

"There are women like Siobhan all over Ireland, who right now are trying to convince their extended families that they are fine with the controlling men in their lives but know instinctively that they and their children are not safe. They should never stay in a frightening situation for the sake of their children. They should get out as fast as they can. If one woman reads this and takes action, I will be happy."

I order two lattes and we sit down by the fire. "Look," says mum, showing me the new lining of her old navy coat, a coat Siobhan bought for her in Arnotts shortly before she died. "A lovely lady in Dalkey, a seamstress, re-lined it and basically reconstructed the whole coat for me," she says. "I can't part with it." I look at my mother. Ten years later and she is still in bits. Unlike the navy coat, she cannot be repaired.

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