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More than two dozen murder suicides since 2000

Arthur McElhill and Lorraine McGovern with their children from L-R James, Caroline, Bellina, Sean and Clodagh

MORE than two dozen murder-suicides have been reported in Ireland since 2000.

Around 27 cases have happened in the Republic, according to research carried out by Una Butler, whose husband John killed their two young girls before taking his own life in 2010.

Some cases have also been reported in the north, including that of convicted sex offender Arthur McElhill, who killed himself, partner Lorraine McGovern, and their five children in a house fire in Omagh, Co Tyrone, in 2007.

A report published by Dublin forensic researcher Ciara Byrne in 2013 showed there had been 19 cases of family murder-suicides in the Republic in the 12 years up to 2013.

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Based on a study of records from the Republic's State Pathologist's Office, the figures showed there had been at least one such case every year between 2001 and 2013.

However, Una Butler, whose husband John Butler died by suicide after he killed their daughters, Ella (2) and six-year-old Zoe at their Co Cork home, said earlier this year that she had found 27 cases of murder-suicides in the Republic since 2000.

In 2014, Shane Skeffington jnr (20) killed his younger brother Brandon (9) with a kitchen knife at their Co Sligo home in 2014 before taking his own life.

Last year, 28-year-old father Marco Velocci and his three-year-old son Alex died in a suspected murder-suicide in Co Limerick.

The pair died when their car collided with a truck on the N24 between Pallasgreen and Oola, on the Limerick-Tipperary border, on July 19.

Marie and Jim Quigley who died in a murder-suicide in Co Louth in 2015

In July 2015, father-of-four Jim Quigley (69), from Newtownbalregan near Dundalk, Co Louth, murdered his wife Marie then killed himself when he drove his car into the path of a lorry on the M1 between Dundalk and Drogheda.

The badly beaten body of Mrs Quigley was discovered by the couple's son Kieran in an upstairs bedroom of their home in Rathmore, Hackballscross, shortly after the car crash.

The hearse carrying the coffin of Clodagh Hawe arrives at Saint Mary's Church in Castlerahan, Co Cavan. She and her three sons were killed by her husband Alan who then died by suicide

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