Tuesday 20 August 2019

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

Celine Cawley
Celine Cawley
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 RTÉ's 'Claire Byrne Live' programme last night praising Clodagh's mother Mary Coll and sister Jacqueline Connolly.

Their statement also praised the contribution of Jim and Rose Callaly, the parents of Rachel O'Reilly, who was murdered by her husband Joe O'Reilly at their home in The Naul, north Co 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.

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 killing and their subsequent attempts to administer her estate illustrated the totally unacceptable current situation in Ireland where men who commit a crime can currently gain financially from it.

"We understand that legislation is currently being discussed. It is vital that proposed legislation ensures that 100pc 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 benefiting 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 Fáil's justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan two years ago.

Last week, Ms Connolly and Ms 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 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.

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

Irish Independent

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