Tuesday 23 April 2019

'Clodagh's family an inspiration' - Cawleys push for 'Celine's Law' to block killers' assets

Family nightmare: The home in Howth where Celine Cawley (inset) was found beaten to death by her husband Eamonn Lillis
Family nightmare: The home in Howth where Celine Cawley (inset) was found beaten to death by her husband Eamonn Lillis
Jane Last

Jane Last

The family of Celine Cawley have paid tribute to the bravery of Clodagh Hawe’s family, saying they are “an inspiration to everyone who believes in the triumph of good over evil”.

Celine’s siblings - Chris and Susanna Cawley - issued a statement to RTE’s ‘Claire Byrne Live’ programme tonight praising Clodagh’s mother Mary Coll, and sister Jacqueline Connolly.

Their statement also praised the contribution of Jim and Rose Callally, the parents of Rachel O’Reilly who was murdered by her husband Joe O’Reilly at their home in the Naul, North County Dublin, in 2004.

Businesswoman Celine (46) was killed by her husband Eamonn Lillis at their home in Howth, North Dublin, in 2008. He was released from prison in 2015 after serving a sentence for her manslaughter.

High profile: Celine Cawley in her modelling days – the businesswoman was just 46 when she was bludgeoned to death by her husband in 2008
High profile: Celine Cawley in her modelling days – the businesswoman was just 46 when she was bludgeoned to death by her husband in 2008

In the years after their sister’s death, Chris and Susanna have called for legal reforms that would prevent those who killed their partners from gaining financially with regard to their joint assets after their death. Ms Cawley’s siblings were involved in protracted legal proceedings against her killer over control of joint assets owned by the couple.

Referring to the decision by Clodagh’s family to go on the Claire Byrne Live programme last week, Chris and Susanna said: “Reflecting on this bravery we are left wondering, how is it that private citizens, who are already trying to process the distress and sadness arising from a horrific crime, must take on such a personally onerous role in trying to get the state to respond to what is so manifestly in the interest of the common good and the principles of social justice.

The family said that Celine's and their attempts to administer her estate showed " the totally unacceptable" current situation in Ireland where men who kill can currently gain financially from the crime.

“We understand that legislation is currently being discussed. It is vital that proposed legislation ensures that 100% of jointly held assets pass to the estate of the victim’s family. It is crucially important that men who may be considering a horrific act of violence know that they will be disinherited from any role or part in jointly held assets.

“This legislation needs to be enacted urgently.”

Over the weekend, the Irish Independent reported on how ‘Celine’s Law’ - which would block killers from benefitting from their crimes - is being stalled by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said there are problems with the proposed legislation and that it may have unintended consequences. The proposed law was first tabled by Fianna Fail’s Justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan two years ago.

Last week, Jacqueline Connolly and Mary Coll made calls for an inquiry into the murder of Clodagh and her three sons. They also made a call for changes to succession laws.

Clodagh Hawe and her three sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were murdered by their husband and father Alan Hawe at their home in Virginia, Co Cavan, in August 2016.

Hawe transferred funds from their joint account to his personal account before he took his own life. It it thought he did this so his family would inherit the money.

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