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Family of Clodagh Hawe still searching for answers for why Alan murdered his wife and sons

In August 2016, Alan Hawe murdered his wife, Clodagh, and their three sons before taking his own life.

Clodagh Hawe (R) with her sister Jacqueline and mother Mary (L)
Clodagh Hawe (R) with her sister Jacqueline and mother Mary (L)
Image: RTÉ/Claire Byrne Live

THE FAMILY OF Clodagh Hawe have said they are still seeking answers as to why her husband, Alan, murdered his wife and three sons in 2016.

Clodagh’s mother Mary and her sister Jacqueline have told RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live that they owe it to Clodagh and the boys to seek the full truth in the hopes they can protect other women who may be in danger. 

Alan and Clodagh Hawe and their three children – Liam, 14, Niall, 11, and six-year-old Ryan – were found dead in their Cavan home in August 2016.

An inquest the following year concluded that Clodagh and her three sons were unlawfully killed by Alan who took his own life after the murders at their home at Oakdene, Balcony, Ballyjamesduff. 

The jury returned verdicts of unlawful killing, due to head and neck injuries caused by a knife and an axe to Clodagh while in the case of Niall, Liam and Ryan, unlawful killing was recorded and the cause of death was stab wounds to their necks.

‘The horror has impacted on everybody’

Hawe family inquest Clodagh Hawe's mother Mary Coll (right) and sister Jacqueline Connelly leaving Cavan Court House following the inquest into the deaths of the Hawe family. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Mary and Jacqueline have said while they did not want to do a television interview about the horrors of that night in 2016, they felt they had to. 

She couldn’t save herself, she couldn’t save her three children, so it’s up to us to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. 

“There as so many questions that there are no answers to and we owe it to Clodagh to be her voice,” Mary Coll said. 

In a Claire Byrne Live special, Her Name is Clodagh, Mary remembers the last time she saw her daughter and grandchildren alive.

The Hawe family had called over to her house, as normal, the night before their bodies were discovered.

It had been a perfectly ordinary Sunday evening. She served tea and biscuits – they caught up, talked about work, talked about Lotto numbers. They had to leave a little early as Ryan was due a bath.

Mary wished Alan luck as he was due back at Castlerahan National School, where he was vice-principal, the next morning. She remembered he wasn’t looking forward to going back after the summer break.

Mary remembers she made plans for the next day with the boys to pick blackberries and make a crumble.

The “horror” that unfolded that night is something that has “impacted on everybody” according to Clodagh’s sister, Jacqueline. 

I don’t think there’s any mother out there who can’t relate to what has happened to Clodagh as a mother and to the children.

download Clodagh and her three boys. Source: EverydayHero

During the 2017 inquest, the jury heard from psychiatry Professor Harry Kennedy who compiled a report on the deaths for coroner Dr Mary Flanagan.

Kennedy said that since 2008 Alan Hawe had suffered with “somatic [physical] anxieties without basis in reality” that “developed into severe and pervasive preoccupations” with his physical condition.

Earlier in the hearing, the court heard from David McConnell, a counsellor, who Alan Hawe attended over 10 sessions from March to June, 2016.

In their last session, on 21 June, Hawe appeared stressed but spoke: “openly and emotionally”.

Alan Hawe told his counsellor: “People think of me as a pillar of the community… if only they knew.” He then “wept”, at which point McConnell said the two felt a connection.

McConnell said Hawe had a “fear of shame and of being less than perfect”.

Now, Mary and Jacqueline want to fill in the gaps and find out why Alan Hawe murdered his family, hoping that the gaps can be filled by those who may have more information about him and who he really was.

Her Name Is Clodagh, a Claire Byrne Live special, is on RTÉ One tonight at 10.35pm.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans: 116 123 or text 087 2609090
  • Aware: 1800 80 48 48 (for depression and anxiety)
  • Pieta House: 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (for suicide and self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland: 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline: 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)
  • Domestic violence support: Safe Ireland

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About the author:

Adam Daly

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