Tuesday 22 October 2019

People affected by familicide asked to take part in review

Experienced: Bernardo’s Norah Gibbons will compile the report
Experienced: Bernardo’s Norah Gibbons will compile the report
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Families who have been affected by domestic homicides have been asked to come forward as part of a review into how the State deals with such cases.

The study has been prompted by the story of Clodagh Hawe who, along with her three sons, was murdered by her husband Alan.

A notice asking for families who have faced similar tragedies to take part has now been published, with people asked to offer their story by the end of July.

The review will be led by Norah Gibbons, a qualified social worker who was the first chairperson of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and a member of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan established the review after meeting with Ms Hawe's family earlier this year.

The Cavan woman suffered a horrific death alongside her children - Liam (14), Niall (11), and six-year-old Ryan - at the hands of her husband in August 2016.

Ms Hawe's mother, Mary Coll, and sister, Jacqueline Connolly, publicly appealed for change to the way the State helps families in such circumstances.

During a private meeting, they told Mr Flanagan: "We were the ones made to feel like criminals; the investigation officers said we were reading too much about the case in the papers and constantly asking questions."

Ms Connelly said there was "no initial support" after the murder-suicide. A notice published in national newspapers this weekend says Ms Gibbons will be supported by "a small team of relevant experts" to study both familicides and domestic homicides.

"The study team will consult with a wide range of stakeholers including State agencies, family members of victims and non-governmental organisations," the notice says.

Ms Gibbons has 12 months to compile her report, which will be made public.

Interested parties are asked to make written submissions to info@fsdhr.ie before July 31.

Irish Independent

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