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Cork tragedy sends out message on mental illness

An inquest in Mallow, Co Cork has heard harrowing details of the deaths of nine year old twins Paddy and Thomas O'Driscoll, stabbed multiple times by their older brother Jonathan, who went on to take his own life.

This was a story of unspeakable horror. The bodies of the young boys were discovered in separate bedrooms at the family home in Charleville after the alarm was raised.

The inquest heard the twins had suffered around 40 stab wounds.

Later, 21-year-old Jonathan was found dead in Buttevant and two knives were found in a river nearby.

This was a tragedy so enormous it would be difficult to imagine how any parent would cope.

Shortly after the terrible events of that day in September last year, Helen O'Driscoll said she forgave Jonathan, who had been fostered as a baby and then adopted.

At yesterday's inquest, the coroner, Dr Michael Kennedy, said that Jonathan had been suffering from a serious psychiatric illness at the time of the killings.

The court was told he had been depressed but had stopped taking his medication.

This is a profoundly disturbing case which yet again highlights the importance of those with any form of mental illness receiving the appropriate attention.

Following the inquest, Mrs O'Driscoll said she wanted to send out a message to anyone suffering from depression, urging young people to find help.

``Don't wait for your parents to be broken-hearted like us,'' she said.

While this is an exceptionally devastating case, unfortunately there are too many instances in our society of people with mental health problems self harming or dying through suicide.

It is a serious health issue and all families need to be aware of any changes which give cause for concern and ensure a young person seeks medical support.

The health service also needs to be properly resourced so that those needing specialist help receive it as a matter or urgency.

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