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Marion : Thugs almost killed my son

BROADCASTER Marian Finucane has described how her home was turned into an "abattoir" by thieves who brutally assaulted her son.

In a rare interview she describes how her son Jack, who was 20 at the time, was savagely bludgeoned on the head with a trophy four years ago.

"They tied him up -- we were away and he came into our room to watch the television and he fell asleep -- and they turned him over in the bed so he couldn't see them but he said at a certain point he saw bits of his blood and flesh hitting off the headboard," she recalls.

Marian has rarely spoken publicly about the 2007 raid that happened while herself and husband John Clarke were doing charity work in South Africa.

In Mike Murphy's Big Interview, she describes how Jack (24) "thought he was going to die" because the burglars would not believe that his parents did not keep cash in the house.


"They used a knife, they kept on at him with the knife in his head and at one stage the lights were on in the room but he could see out of the corner of his eye in the window and he saw them pick up this award -- thank God it wasn't bronze or anything like that -- and he thought he was going to die as they just crashed it down on top of his head."

She added: "This friend of ours that went over said it looked like an abattoir, there was so much blood around the place."

Marian also speaks in detail for the first time about the breakdown of her first marriage and her struggle at dealing with the death of her daughter Sinead.

Sinead died in 1990 when she was eight years old and Marian says her death is still a heavy burden to carry and talk about.

She explained: "I have the greatest respect for people who can [talk about these things]. I can't. I tend to go into tears of laughter, I go into tears when I'm moved, I certainly go into tears when I'm sad, so I just don't.

"After Sinead died I was asked to go on the board of the Irish Hospice Foundation... I said I'd be only delighted, and I only resigned last year, I've been on it since then."


Speaking about her first marriage at the age of just 24, Marian says she was too young.

"[It lasted] about five years...I suppose the endings tend to be [acrimonious]. He was a really, really, really nice guy. He was an architect and we really got on brilliantly but we just weren't a good marriage, it's as simple as that."

But she added that her husband John Clarke is "great" and he has a love of working the land and horses.

"He's great. I did a deal with myself that I chose a job in the public eye and my family didn't, so I actually rarely ever talk about them.

"He's terrific. He works the land, he's interested in horses. He specialises in slow ones is what he says."

Marian also recalled her heartbreak at losing her close friend Nuala O'Faolain to cancer, and missing out on a final goodbye to her.

Nuala had been godmother to Marian's daughter Sinead and she religiously visited Marian on the anniversary of the little girl's death every year.

Marian tells Mike: "With her absolute sensitivity and all of that, she sat down in front of me and said I'm dying, I have brain cancer, I have lung cancer, I'm going to take radiation, I'm not going to take chemotherapy and that's it, and I'm dying.

"I wasn't there you know [when Nuala died] which saddens me greatly. I got there about 10 minutes after she had died."

The broadcaster also spoke of Nuala's bravery and how she desperately wanted to communicate with listeners about dying, and how she was "astonished" with the response which her famous interview with Marian in 2008 received.

"I look back on it in wonder that we had this conversation about doing an interview when I was still trying to absorb this.

"I said 'well I'll think about it', and she said 'nonsense you must do it, nobody ever talks about this'."

"She was very glad she did it. She was absolutely astonished at the level of response and from whom the responses came.

"A lot of people that were dying really liked that interview."

The interview with Marian Finucane will be screened at 10.15pm on Thursday.