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Wednesday 7 June 2023 Dublin: 13°C
# BallyjamesDuff
"Impossible to comprehend" - Gardaí to search house where five family members died
The bodies of the five members of the Hawe family were discovered yesterday morning at their house near Ballyjamesduff.

Family of five found dead Philip Fitzpatrick Philip Fitzpatrick

Updated 9.04am

A THOROUGH GARDA search is expected to commence today of the Co Cavan property where five members of the one family lost their lives yesterday morning.

A Garda forensic examination has already taken place at the house at Oakdene, Barconey, near Ballyjamesduff.

The deaths are being treated as a likely murder suicide. The five family members have been named as father Alan Hawe, aged in his 40s, his wife of about 15 years Clodagh Hawe, aged in her 30s, and their three sons Liam (13), Niall (11), and Ryan (6).

Both parents were teachers in nearby national schools.

29/8/2016. Murder Suicide Ballyjamesduff. Gardai a Eamonn Farrell Eamonn Farrell

At present gardaí are trying to establish a motive for the crime. However, investigating officer Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll has said that he believes “the answers lie within that house” and that gardaí are not seeking anyone else in relation to the crime.

Last night the local Bishop of Kilmore Leo O’Reilly expressed his “heartfelt sympathy” to the relatives and friends of the deceased and the local community.

“I know that I speak for all people of faith and of goodwill when I express my heartfelt prayerful sympathy to the relatives, friends and neighbours of the deceased,” Bishop O’Reilly said.

The sudden loss of one young family, in such a shocking way, is unbearable and near impossible to comprehend.
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.


The Bishop of Kilmore, Leo O’Reilly said that he was deeply shocked and saddened at the terrible tragedy.

“I was speaking to the local parish priest Phelim Kelly last night, and the people there [are] just numbed,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“He knew the family well, they were very much involved in the community, deeply involved in the parish as well. It’s shocking in such tragic circumstances,  a young couple and three small boys, young boys.

The death of a child has to be the most difficult cross for any parent to bear. Three children it’s just unbearable.

“Our hearts go out to everybody touched by the tragedy, first and foremost to the families of the parents and their friends, the schoolfriends of the children.

“It’s had a huge impact on the children.”

Time of hope

He said the principal and the staff in the school have been receiving assistance from the Department of Education psychological services in helping the students cope.

Bishop O’Reilly also asked people to keep the community who have been affected in their thoughts and prayers, and to think, too, of the gardaí and emergency services who had to deal with the “horrendous situation” with which they were confronted.

O’Reilly is also patron of St Mary’s National School in Castlerahan, near Ballyjamesduff.

“Going back to school time is a time of new beginnings, a time of hope,” he added.

And just on the day before, the children themselves were to go back to school, for this tragedy to happen, it really is a huge, a huge… it’s going to have a huge impact on the school community.

He added: “And I think hope is very important in this situation, we have our faith that death is not the end, and that in even the greatest tragedy, that God can use this in some way that we don’t understand and all and bring good out of it.”

The community will be asking themselves questions as to how this happened, he added.

“We’ve heard of situations like this before, but they were always somewhere else and you wondered how people could cope with that, and now it’s on our own doorstep.

And we try to understand, and we try to find answers, but unfortunately there are no answers. We simply don’t understand.

“Obviously investigations have to take place, and we have to await the outcome of them to get some light perhaps on it.

But the deeper reasons, I don’t know if we will ever understand.

- Additional reporting from Darragh Peter Murphy.

Read: ‘They thought he might not make it’: 24 hours in Ireland’s hospitals

Read: A fire is blazing on the roof of Oberstown’s youth detention centre

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