Republic of Ireland news

Father ‘stabbed wife and three sons in Cavan murder-suicide'

Alan Hawe with sons Ryan (six), Liam (13) and Niall (11)  
Claire Simpson and Brian Hutton, Press Association

A  FATHER is thought to have stabbed his wife and three sons before turning the knife on himself  in a suspected murder-suicide in Co Cavan.

The bodies of Alan Hawe, aged in his forties, wife Clodagh, aged in her thirties, and their three sons Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (six), were discovered at their house in Oakdene Downs in the townland of Barconey, near Ballyjamesduff, in Co Cavan, on Monday.

Mr Hawe, originally from Windgap in Co Kilkenny, was deputy principal at Castlerahan National School in Co Cavan.

Mrs Hawe, who was from the Ballyjamesduff area, was a teacher at Oristown National School.

The children were due to return to school on Tuesday after the summer break.

Bishop of Kilmore Leo O'Reilly said the deaths were "unbearable and near impossible to comprehend".

The bodies were found by gardaí at around 10.45am on Monday after a relative who called to the house became concerned no one answered.

Garda assistant commissioner John O'Driscoll said police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

"We believe all the answers are within that house - so therefore the most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the death of the others," he said.

Two of the bodies were found in a downstairs room while three others were discovered in upstairs bedrooms.

Gardaí said the family had been seen at a GAA match in the area on Sunday and there was no indication anything was wrong.

"Nothing had happened prior to this grim discovery this morning that gave rise to anyone - including An Garda Siochana - having any suspicion that anything was untoward and this family were engaged with the community and seen yesterday," Ass Comm O'Driscoll said.

Post mortem examinations are to be carried out in the next few days.

A Garda technical officer lifts tape as a hearse leaves the scene at Oakdene, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, where a family of five were found dead. Picture by Philip Fitzpatrick, Press Association 

The house has been sealed off and several items are being examined. Mr Hawe was treasurer at Castlerahan GAA club. 

In a statement, the club said the family were "well-known and widely-respected" and the "entire GAA family in Castlerahan are shocked and grief-stricken at this terrible event".

Principal of Castlerahan National School, Anne Foley, said the deaths were a "terrible tragedy".

Ms Foley said Mr Hawe was "a valued member of our school staff and community, while two of his sons, Niall and Ryan were pupils in our school and Liam was a past pupil". 

"They were wonderful children who will be greatly missed by all who knew them," she said.

Psychologists visited the school on Monday and were advising teachers how to help students deal with the tragedy.

Ann O'Kelly Lynch, principal of Oristown National School, said Mrs Hawe was a "much loved and valued teacher in our school and will be greatly missed by all who knew her".

Bishop O'Reilly expressed his "heartfelt prayerful sympathy" to the Hawe family's relatives, friends and neighbours.

"Families are the cornerstone of our parish communities, and the sudden loss of one young family, in such a shocking way, is unbearable and near impossible to comprehend," he said.

“Especially now – as the new school year begins - my thoughts and prayers are with the school friends and the teachers of the children who have died in this family tragedy.

“At this time of intense human loss I ask the faithful to unite in prayer at Masses throughout the diocese and beyond for those who have died, and for those who grieve for them.

"May faith and friendship comfort and console them in their sadness.”

First Minister Arlene Foster tweeted: "The tragedy in Ballyjamesduff is too terrible for words. I will hug my three a little tighter tonight."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was saddened by the deaths. 

He tweeted: "Very sad to hear the tragic news of the deaths of a couple & their three children in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan. #Heartbreaking".

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