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Wednesday 22 May 2019

Study into support offered to families of murder-suicides 'at advanced stage'

Fighting for the truth: Clodagh Hawe (left) with her sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll (right), whose campaign has led to a review of the case
Fighting for the truth: Clodagh Hawe (left) with her sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll (right), whose campaign has led to a review of the case
Fiona Dillon

Fiona Dillon

Work is at “an advanced stage” towards establishing a new study on how families who have experienced the trauma of murder-suicides can be supported.

It follows a meeting between Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and the family of murdered mother-if-three Clodagh Hawe in February. He met with her sister Jacqueline Connolly and mother Mary Coll.

The 39-year-old teacher was murdered alongside her sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6) by her husband Alan Hawe on August 29 2016 near Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan. He subsequently took his own life.

A spokesperson for Mr Flanagan told the Irish Independent yesterday: “The Minister has instructed officials to draft terms of reference for a study about how best to support families in the most caring and effective way in the aftermath of murder-suicides, and this work is at an advanced stage.

“The Minister intends to consult relevant parties, including Government colleagues and relevant experts, before finalising the terms of reference.

“He has emphasised the importance of carefully considered terms of reference to ensure the most effective study outcome possible.”

Separately, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, who also met with the family at the beginning of this month, appointed Assistant Commissioner Barry O'Brien to conduct a serious case review of the investigation.

A garda spokesperson said yesterday that the review team will take “a number of weeks” to establish.

Commissioner Harris has said the family will be kept informed as the review progresses, and gardai have been liaising with them.

The family had been calling for a new and full inquiry into the murders of Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan.

They are also calling for a review on Ireland's inheritance law where a spouse can benefit financially from domestic murder.

In a previous interview with the 'Sunday Independent', Ms Connolly said that in the days and weeks after the shocking killings, they slowly started to learn that as the victims' family they had few rights.

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