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Relatives of Lixnaw family who died in murder-suicide: ‘We never expected this to happen’

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Mossie, Eileen, and Jamie O'Sullivan from Lixnaw, who died tragically in September 2021

Mossie, Eileen, and Jamie O'Sullivan from Lixnaw, who died tragically in September 2021

Gardaí at the scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, last September. Picture by Mark Condren

Gardaí at the scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, last September. Picture by Mark Condren

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Mossie, Eileen, and Jamie O'Sullivan from Lixnaw, who died tragically in September 2021

Friends and family of the O’Sullivan family who died in a double murder-suicide in Co Kerry last September said they are still unaware of any supports the HSE claims it has given the local community to come to terms with their ordeal.

Norma Harrington, who lived next door to the family at their farm in Lixnaw, Co Kerry said she relives the horror every day of the nightmare that unfolded on September 7 when she returned home from London for a visit two days before the tragedy.

“We never expected this to happen,” she told Claire Byrne on RTE ONE’s Claire Byrne Live last night.

“We would never have known our world would come crashing down that night, which is what happened,” she said of the tragedy in which Mossie O’Sullivan shot his son Jamie and wife Eileen before taking his own life.

Ms Harrington, who has known the O’Sullivan family her entire life and was good friends with Jamie, said she and others living in the close-knit rural community are still coming to terms with the tragedy.

“It’s a night that will haunt many of us for the rest of our lives,” she said.

“I haven’t stopped thinking about it since September 7,” she said.

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Gardaí at the scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, last September. Picture by Mark Condren

Gardaí at the scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, last September. Picture by Mark Condren

Gardaí at the scene of the murder-suicide in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, last September. Picture by Mark Condren

Cath Houlihan who is Eileen O’Sullivan’s niece and who went to the family home following the tragedy said “there were signs of what happened (in the house).”

“It’s very raw. It’s very painful. We’re running a gamut of emotions,” she told the programme.

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Both women last week told RTE News that despite the ordeal they and others in the community are going through there has been no response from any State agency or otherwise to provide trauma counselling or other supports.

And despite claims on the programme last night from the HSE that an “intense response was and remains in place” for those affected by the tragedy, they have yet to be given any outside supports.

“There’s definitely a disparity in our experience,” Ms Houlihan said.

“As a family member, I haven’t been supported in any way.”

She said the only information she was given was the phone number for the Citizens Information bureau.

“I wasn’t aware of what the HSE offered,” she said.

Ms Harrington said she is also unaware of any support and the only outside intervention came when “my parents had to call my GP for myself – that wasn’t enough,” she added.

Ms Harrington, who works as an occupational therapist in a mental health hospital in London, previously told RTE “we didn’t even receive a leaflet through the door or a number to call”.

"We were expected to give statements. We were expected to relive what had happened. Not just my family - the whole community.

"What we really needed at that point was for services to come to our community to provide a space for the community to come to talk about what happened. That didn't happen and I cannot understand it.

Ms Houlihan who also lives in the UK, also told RTE News this week: "Over in the UK, I have been able to receive specific trauma support, which has been amazing and helped me significantly.

"I wouldn't be standing here today, talking, feeling the strength to talk to you as I am, if it wasn't for that. There isn't any question from the NHS in terms of their role and responsibility, so I don't understand why our Government and the HSE aren't seeing that as their responsibility as well for the Irish people.

"In 2011, there was guidance set out that there should be intense support from the HSE following events such as these.

"That was over 10 years ago, and there was nothing: we didn't get a number; there wasn't awareness. We were left with that burden to carry.”

Helplines: If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, click here for more information


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