Thursday 22 February 2018

Troubled he may have been -- but I've no sympathy

The filicide of Ella and Zoe by John Butler was worst abuse of parental power, writes Shane Dunphy

I think that I heard about the horrific deaths of the Butler children, Ella, 2, and Zoe, 6, and that of their father, John, 31, with a sort of weary resignation.

It has been some time since Ireland was devastated by a case of filicide-suicide (murder-suicide is what we used to call it, but we've become very politically correct), and with everybody going on about the recession, and the ridiculously expensive time of Christmas drawing near, it was inevitable that someone would snap sooner rather than later.

I trained as a child protection worker, and spent 15 years working with children. During those years, when I came face to face with mothers and fathers who knowingly tortured and molested their offspring, I always looked for an explanation for their unforgivable conduct -- they had been abused as children themselves; they knew no better; they just needed a leg up out of their poverty.

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