Wednesday 25 April 2018

Hawe family visited by horror that many Irish communities have suffered in the past

Diarmuid and Lorraine Flood
Diarmuid and Lorraine Flood
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The tragedy that has befallen the Hawe family has sparked a grieving process for their small rural community that is familiar to many around the country.

Since 2000, there have been more than 30 murder-suicide cases in Ireland and over 40 children have been killed.

Martin McCarthy
Martin McCarthy

Numerous communities in that period have been rocked by the tragedy of a father, mother or brother murdering their loved one.

One thing that many of the perpetrators have in common is a history of depression or mental illness.

In April 2007, dad Adrian Dunne (30) strangled his wife Ciara (24) and his daughters Leanne (5) and Shania (3), before taking is own life. The family lived in Monageer, Co Wexford. The deaths caused national shock and it later emerged that Adrian Dunne had asked a priest, in the days leading up to the killing, if people who take their own lives can get into Heaven. The inquiry into the murder-suicide deaths was heavily critical of the lack of out-of-hours social services in Co Wexford.


Jonathan, Patrick and Tommy O’Driscoll
Jonathan, Patrick and Tommy O’Driscoll

In April 2008, Wexford father, Diarmuid Flood (41) smothered his two children before shooting his wife dead. Flood had been suffering from depression.

The body of his youngest child, five-year-old daughter Julie, was found in her bed clutching a teddy bear. A jury at the inquest in Enniscorthy into the deaths returned verdicts of unlawful killing in relation to Lorraine Flood, and the couple's children, Mark (6) and Julie (5) and suicide in relation to Mr Flood.

Two years later, on November 16, 2010, John Butler (41) killed his two young daughters Ella (6) and Zoe (2) at their family home in Cork, before crashing his car into a ditch, taking his own life. Butler had suffered with mental health issues throughout his life. Butler's wife, Una, has gone on to campaign for greater supports for people living with mental health issues.

In another shocking incident mum, Diane Ward, killed her son Anthony (8) by smothering him with a pillow on September 3, 2012. The then 44-year-old later pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of her son. The court heard that she was severely depressed and suicidal at the time.

Michael Greaney
Michael Greaney

On March 5, 2013 Martin McCarthy (50) and his only child, Clarissa (3) were found 200m apart in shallow waters off the West Cork coast near a secluded beach on the family farm at Ballydehob, Co Cork. He had left a note for his wife Rebecca (26).

Garda sources said Martin McCarthy didn't appear to have a history of depression or mental illness.

That same year, brothers Eoghan (10) and Ruairi Chada (5) died at the hands of their father Sanjeev Chada on July 29. The boys' bodies were found side-by- side in the boot of his car after it crashed into a wall in Westport, Co Mayo. The brothers had been missing overnight and gardaí had mounted a nationwide search for them. Chada had attempted to take his own life by crashing his car, but survived the impact. He later got life in prison.

In September 2014, Jonathan O'Driscoll (21) killed his younger brothers Patrick and Tommy - twins aged nine. The boys were found in separate bedrooms in their family home in Charleville, Co Cork. Jonathan then drove 15km from the family home and killed himself. Speaking after the inquest into their deaths, the boys' mother Helen O'Driscoll urged people with mental health issues to get help. "No matter what phone you pick up, no matter what friend you tell, there's somebody out there who will listen to you," she said.


On December 28, 2014 dad of three Michael Greaney (53) fatally stabbed his wife Valerie, and left his daughter Michelle (21) fighting for her life before he killed himself at his Cobh home. The Naval Service veteran had previously been admitted to the Central Mental Hospital after attacking a young girl in May 2013.

However, he was released from the Dublin facility after six weeks. His family have asked for an independent review into the psychiatric care that he received before his death.

Earlier this year, Marco Velocci (28) attacked his former partner Jodie Power (26) in her home in Oola, Co Limerick before leaving with his son Alex (3). He then deliberately crashed into a truck, killing both himself and his son in east Limerick. Mum Jodie survived the attack.

If you have been affected by issues in this article, you can free-phone the Samaritans on 116 123

Irish Independent

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