Mother warned there would be more tragedy

Geraldine Gittens

A mother who lost her daughter and grandchildren to a family suicide says she warned authorities it would happen again.

Rosie Reddy was reacting after the murder-suicide in Ballycotton, Cork, on Tuesday which saw John Butler suffocate his two young daughters before killing himself.

Rosie's daughter Sharon Grace (28) drowned herself and two daughters Mikahla (3) and Abby (4) in April 2005 at Kaat Strand, Co Wexford.

But the Wexford mother said "nothing has changed" since the death of her daughter -- who asked for help from her local hospital -- and her grandchildren, in terms of mental health services.

"I would say nothing's changed. There are no facilities for nothing and it has taken a back seat because of the situation the country is in," Rosie told the Herald. Mrs Grace had sought the help of a social worker on the weekend she died but she was told that social care services were only available Monday to Friday.

And in the aftermath of the family deaths, a number of concerns were raised over shortcomings in the mental health system.

But Rosie said she believes mental health and suicide awareness is not a main priority for the Government, and she stressed that it should be.

"At the moment there are no funds to be talking or doing anything about it.

"There are so many priorities there now that it won't be top of the list," she added.

Rosie Reddy and her family have endured more than five years of heartbreak and grief, and in that time there have been eight more instances of family suicide.