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Jacqueline Connolly says a witness possibly saw Alan Hawe driving his car after killing Clodagh and the boys

Alan and Clodagh Hawe and their three children were found dead in their Cavan home in August 2016.

Clodagh Hawe (right) with her sister Jacqueline (centre) and mother Mary (left)
Clodagh Hawe (right) with her sister Jacqueline (centre) and mother Mary (left)

JACQUELINE CONNOLLY – THE sister of murdered woman Clodagh Hawe – has said that she was informed by a local man that he had seen Alan Hawe driving his car in the early morning of 29 August.

In a personal account published in the Sunday Independent, Jacqueline, who appeared with her mother Mary Coll last Monday on the Claire Byrne Live show, said that she felt her family had been mistreated by the state. 

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. 

On Monday, Mary Coll and Jacqueline spoke out for the first time about the unanswered questions regarding the murders. They met with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan on Thursday and are also due to meet Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. 

The pair have raised issues with how the case was handled, saying they were mistreated by the state and that Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan were failed. 

The family have also called for a number of changes to how cases similar to theirs are handled. 

They propose that immediately after the conclusion of an inquest in the case of a familicide and family annihilation, a book of evidence is published and that Tusla is responsible for independently monitoring all such cases and maintaining research on familicide perpetrators. 

The family has also called for a review of the Coroner’s Act and laws surrounding exhumations.

 

Investigation 

Writing in the Sunday Independent, Jacqueline Connolly said that she and her mother felt that key information surrounding the case was being withheld from them. 

“The reason we have formed the view that key information is being withheld from us is because a local man told me he had made a statement to gardaí in which he said he and another person saw Alan Hawe driving his car, near the school, very early on the morning of August 29,” Jacqueline said. 

So, after Alan Hawe murdered his wife and three sons did he leave the house to go to his place of work, Castlerahan National School, where he was vice principal, perhaps to destroy evidence?

Jacqueline said that when they raised this with investigating gardaí they were “accused of tampering with a witness”. 

She said that her mother Mary told Minister Flanagan on Thursday: 

We were the ones made to feel like criminals; the investigation officers said we were reading too much about the case in the papers and constantly asking questions.

Jacqueline said that the man who told her he had seen Alan may have been mistaken but that she “believed the man when he said he gave a statement to gardaí”. 

“Overwhelming”

Jacqueline said that this week had been “overwhelming” and she thanked Minister Flanagan for meeting with her and her mother and giving them time to go through the case. 

“It has been an overwhelming week and at last Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan are at the centre of the review of the case,” she said. 

Jacqueline spoke at length about the case and the initial media and local reaction to the news of what happened. She spoke about Alan Hawe and the particular features of family annihilation cases. 

She also criticised the “online keyboard warriors” who attacked the family for their initial decision to bury Alan with the rest of the family, a decision which Jacqueline said was made “in the stupor of our grieving”.

She criticised the laws that meant it was Alan Hawe’s family that would have “the ultimate say whether there would or would not be an exhumation”.

Jacqueline called for more rights for next-of-kin in cases like theirs, and changes to the Succession Act. 

Finally, she called for a zero tolerance approach in the state to domestic abuse “in any way shape or form”. 

“We are now a tiny family, with my Mam and me and my little boy, but we hope to make a difference in this country to protect women and children, and let us not forget the men, who are also suffering through coercive control,” she said.  

Anyone affected by issues raised in last night’s Claire Byrne Live programme can contact: 

  • Samaritans on 116 123
  • Pieta House on 1800 247 247
  • Childline on 1800 66 66 66, or text “support” to 50101
  • Women’s Aid on 1800 341 900 

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About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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