Her Name Was Clodagh. She Mattered.



From top; Clodagh Hawe; Gary Gannon

A man can kill his partner and we care more about his ‘motives’ than her life.

Gary Gannon writes:

I was curating the @ireland account on Monday, when the story of the ‘tragic deaths’ in Cavan broke.

We heard in hushed tones how the police were ‘not looking for anyone else’ and how ‘the answers lay within the family home’, how five people had lost their lives unnecessarily like there had been some sort of unprecedented carbon monoxide incident.

In the aftermath of these ‘tragic deaths’, I learned that a man can literally get away with murder.

He can kill his partner and his children and we will still eulogise him. We will care more about his ‘motives’ than her life. We will even go so far as attribute some sort of nobility to his well-intentioned but unfortunately murderous actions.

You know what the worst thing is? Not just that the murder of a woman and her children becomes the footnote in a story about a man’s mental health, but that the woman is totally disappeared in all media discourse.

The Irish Times screamed ‘Wonderful children who will be greatly missed’. The Independent asked poignantly ‘How could he kill those boys?’

What about their mother?

Her name was Clodagh. She was a teacher. She had a life, thoughts, opinions. She mattered.

On Tuesday morning, I tweeted the Women’s Aid statistic that never fails to shock; one in two women murdered in Ireland will die at the hands of a male partner.

Men murdering women is unfortunately not unusual; an average of one woman is murdered every month and in half of resolved cases, it was by an intimate partner, someone she is supposed to be able to trust the most. In the majority of cases, this occurs in her own home.

By Tuesday evening, I was engaged in full blown @ireland Twitter rant about the media’s failure to name the murder of a woman and children as murder.

The support received was tremendous, from hundreds of people who were also sitting at home, wondering why Clodagh Hawe’s photograph was only just released when her husband’s face had been smiling at us all day.

Wondering why we knew about his job, his hobbies and his normal, everyday life, than anything about Clodagh. Wondering why we were so intent on minimising the culpability of the man who murdered Clodagh, and her children.

There was also criticism. Why was I speculating? Didn’t I know this wasn’t the time? Why couldn’t I wait until I was sure of the facts?

To these people, I ask – is there any other crime in which we hold the perpetrator’s reasons to be more important than his actions? It is not speculation that he murdered his wife but let’s be clear, it is the absolute height of a culture of violent misogyny that we are not allowed to say this.

In Ireland, our silence kills us. It enables us to lock women behind Magdalene walls, to force them to different countries for essential healthcare, to minimise the violent tendencies of abusive men and to allow coercive, controlling perpetrators of domestic abuse up and down the country to sleep easy.

In refusing to name the murder of Clodagh and her three children as the violent actions of an abusive man, we enable ourselves to reach the logical conclusion that this man was A Good Man, one who simply snapped.

We act like their murders were inevitable, that even Clodagh couldn’t have seen it coming. We let him, and all men like him, off the hook.

The reality is, many women living in abusive relationships do ultimately fear that they will be killed. Many can’t leave, because the coercive control exerted by their partners is so absolute, or because they are so isolated by silence, and a lack of support structures, that they see no way out. Heartbreakingly, for women who do leave, it is the most dangerous time for them.

The lies about ‘The Good Man Who Snapped’ allow us to continue to underfund women’s shelters and front line violence against women services.

We enable the horrendously stupid argument about USC cuts to dominate the airwaves in the lead up to the 2017 Budget. How can we afford tax cuts when we apparently cannot properly fund support services to enable women to leave abusive relationships? (I’ll leave the argument about political choices for another day.)

We can make Ireland the safest country in the world for women and their children. We can do this by facing the fact that one in five women experience domestic violence, and that for many of these women, this violence ends in their death and in cases like Clodagh’s, the deaths of her children.

In response to the murders of Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan, we can and must pledge to properly resource the full and immediate ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention, as Women’s Aid, Safe Ireland and the National Women’s Council of Ireland have been screaming for, for years.

The Istanbul Convention leaves no room for doubt ; it is the obligation of the state to fully address it in all its forms and to take measures to prevent violence against women, protect its victims and prosecute the perpetrators.

There can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale and state agencies and institutions turn a blind eye.

Gary Gannon is a Social Democrats Councillor on Dublin City Counicil for Dublin’s North Inner City. His column appears here every Friday before lunch. Follow Gary on Twitter: @1garygannon

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372 thoughts on “Her Name Was Clodagh. She Mattered.

  1. Owen C

    “I learned that a man can literally get away with murder.”

    In fairness, he did have to kill himself to “get away with it”. So, you know, there was some negative outcomes for him.

    Does Gary Gannon believe that people with clear psychological problems should be treated the same as people of full sanity when it comes to criminal offences? Or would he rather use this tragic story to make some crass political point scoring on his favoured subject matter?

    Anyway, here’s the Irish Independent calling this crime a murder. I know, facts eh?


    1. Increasing Displacement

      Plus one. Maybe digging him up and putting him in a cell will placate the author?

      Just curious, why did everyone/the media portray him as a good man immediately?
      I don’t get that part, he killed 4 people then cowarded out and topped himself too.
      Seems like a pretty bad man to me, or insane, or both.

        1. Dani

          Remember Ted Bundy was well thought of, socially accepted by politicians, etc and was one of the worst serial killers. Everything I read, including the article above make excuses for what he did but we don’t know if he was just such a jealous, brutal person that he refused to let his wife and kids go and would rather they all die. You don’t even read about her in that article at all. SMH

      1. TrienaDuffy

        Clodagh and her 3 children are dead, he caused the deaths, that is murder ! plain and simple, he was not a victim of suicide, it was a cop out, he should have been had a seperate funeral and buried in unconsecrated ground. Depressed, insane, or what ever, murder is murder and thats what he is, A Murderer, Clodagh and her children are victims

    2. ahjayzis

      Front pages were basically painting him as a Jesus-like, pillar of the community, prince of a man.

      I don’t know why he murdered his wife and three children.

      But I think it probably doesn’t help matters when the next man who does it sees that after the fact he’ll be lionized as a fupping saint when the deed is done.

      I try not to judge or scorn the victims of suicide – I’ve no hesitation in condemning this man who saw his wife and children as merely appendages of himself – that were he to take himself out he’d have to take them with him because they belong to him. Sensitivity towards another’s troubles stops when that person butchers women and children.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        “take them with him because they belong to him”

        That’s a pretty extraordinary assumption there, mate.

        The trying-not-to-judge-people thing didn’t last long.

        1. Mark

          Its been reported in the Mirror today (I know, not the best source) that his note stated he decided his family could not live without him – therefore he murdered them so they could be with him. I think that does support ahjayzis’ point that he felt they belonged to him and a fairly accurate assumption.

        2. ahjayzis

          When you decide to kill yourself, taking your nearest and supposedly dearest with you would suggest a level of proprietary ownership.

          He didn’t kill fellow bus passengers or his co-workers, he killed his wife and his children, presumably because they couldn’t exist without him.

          I said I don;’t judge people who die by suicide, even when it’s hard like when they hang themselves somewhere they must know their young children will be the ones to discover – but I won’t try and empathise with a man who kills his wife and children in their beds. I don’t see any benefit in doing that. It emboldens the next man who decides his suicide should be a family affair, seeing his predecessors praised and molly-coddled all over the national media for days. Condemning this dead murderer doesn’t hurt anyone, he’s dead – it might put off the next psycho seeking notoriety in death they never had in life.

        3. Audrey

          I think that’s a very fair point. He savagely killed his wife and children, without car for their suffering. The person who wad their to protect them, killed them, why?

          1. Jamsto

            Lundy Bancroft writes about these men in his book, “Why Does He Do That?, inside the minds of angry and controlling men”

    3. JLK

      Do you not find the commentary about how wonderful this guy was even a little unnerving? He’s been championed to the last yet no/few mentions of how wonderful his murdered wife was when he murdered her and their kids. Just a byline about how her school will miss her & she was a great teacher. It’s pretty sick to be honest that this murderer is made out like a saint who could do no wrong except for this blip. So in a sense yeah he gets away with murder…
      He savagely murdered his wife and 3 kids with knives and hatchets. A grusome way to go. Couldn’t such a nice fella find a kinder way to do it?
      Mental health issues don’t always explain such violence. Maybe he was a street saint and home devil. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors?

      1. Niamh


        Perhaps people did have some idea of the street angel, home devil, and turned the other way. Happens all the time. Now there is a need to insist and insist and insist this came right out of nowhere and has no connection whatsoever to the centrality of the nuclear family and the heroism of decent community people.

      2. classter

        I agree on the exclusion of Clodagh.

        I do think, however, that the media concentrated on what they saw as the most ‘interesting’ aspect of the story. An obviously horrendous fellow being horrendous has become hackneyed.

        But a ‘good’ man, the sort of decent characters we all know & extol doing something horrendous, now that’s interesting.

        Still sh!t journalism.

      3. kellma

        Most charming people are not abusers but most abusers are charming people…. i read that somewhere….

    4. Martina

      @Owen C

      “In fairness, he did have to kill himself to “get away with it”. So, you know, there was some negative outcomes for him.”

      Just when I thought you couldn’t get any worse you come out with vile apologist BS like that.

    5. Davina Lyon

      Why has his family not been mentioned. ? Just wondering did they know something nobody else did ?
      He’s a murderer and should be remembered and talked about as such.
      Clodagh was 1st a person, then a mum and now a victim
      May her and the boys RIP

    6. Elaine

      When a terrible event like this happens naturally people are trying to figure out a reason, naturally they are going to talk about the personality they knew the perpetrator to have. If that personality was ‘pillar of the community’ in their experience then naturally that is what they are going to report. Those people in that community are in shock with so many questions to be answered. They have reported on what they have seen not what they didn’t know about the man. They will go through many ups and downs in their shock and grief. It’s not a crime novel that you can write a tidy ending to. Time and investigation will show what was behind this story, time is an important element in processing these happenings for all of us. Maybe not a good time to be making politics out of this family’s tragedy. May they all rest in peace and may their bereaved families and friends eventually find some comfort.

    7. Nigel

      Er, surely it’s the juxtaposition of the terrible crime and the eulogising of the perpetrator that he’s talking about?

    8. Mick

      The reporter here is contradicting himself and is totally mysoginistic. Overplaying I care about women and I am a man am I great or what. Goes on a rant to exclaim I know things like the Istanbul convention. Using a story like this to gain political advantage is pretty sick. Simple facts there was very little printed /said about the victims of this terrible crime and tragedy. The serial killer always gets more attention than the victims it doesn’t matter what gender they are. What you call eulogising is people searching for answers or clues as to how this could happen where there signs from his lifestyle etc that could have warned this was going to happen. For the local politician to be reporting that this was an abusive relationship without having any facts and indeed is a disservice to the mother who would have been driven to protect herself and her children. If for a moment that she knew that this could happen she would have stopped it . This was a young educated woman who would have had insight in to abuse and where to get help its part of teacher training. She or no one seen this coming as it woul not have happened. To quote things like 1 in 2 women killed are killed by their partners is about as insightful as stating that road traffic accidents most likely involve cars. Maybe we should put that in bold for effect. I know a mother who killed her children and took her own life. The awful facts are this is such an affront to human norms of behaviour or decency that you spend so much time trying to figure out why based on the person you thought you new how could they take the lives of their own loved ones . . By the way they were missed in the press round up of past crimes such as this committed by partners are her children less worthy to be remembered / mentioned? To use a story like this for political positioning is pretty sick , desperate insincere and cheap. The article went outside the tragedy and was all about his position on abuse . He could have easily headlined his article in bold “Look at me am I great” or more accurately look at me am I a knob jockey or wha!

      1. Wendy

        I disagree. It’s a well worded, well thought out article. It needs to be said & he is one of a growing number of people saying it. You have no concept of living in fear. You think because a woman is educated it makes it easier to get help? Ridiculous. You need to read up on abusive relationships to gain a greater understanding of why women live in silence.

      2. Archie

        You have no idea how domestic abuse works. It’s ignorant in the extreme to insist that it does not happen to educated women or that a clever woman would find a way out.

      3. CorkRob

        Spot on – I see he rates Abortion also as “essential healthcare” –
        This person is a true left wing warrior, jumping on any tragedy to furlher his own career.
        Quoting International Conventions to cement his own perceived expertise.
        The family of the deceased are suffering great loss and conflict
        These debates on how the press reports and why are totally insensitive to the wider family members left to deal with the tragedy.
        We don”t know any of the background reasons and this speculation & debate for column inches & political positioning is disgusting.
        How the hell did he decide there was a previous “abusive relatiomship”.?
        R.I.P. the entire family.

    9. Dani

      Yes it does call it a murder but it also goes around trying to make excuses for what he did. It even says we may never know what “triggered” him. I do get the author’s point on this article here. Why is the woman not talked of in real terms. Why is her name not used more for she is a victim and so are the kids.

    10. Anne Dooley..

      So very well written!!! Such a tragedy!! Poor Mother & those 3 beautiful children robbed of their lives… Every word you said there, is so true of him & how many more women out there are living a horrendous life, like Clodagh did… May she & her 3 boys rest in peace now… So so sad….

    11. Tinny

      ‘is there any other crime in which we hold the perpetrator’s reasons to be more important than his actions?’ – The question is meant to be rhetorical but actually the answer is YES in every crime a judge must take the reason for the perpetrators actions in accout. This is how stupid this article is. People can kill others in self defence. The motive for the killing is very relevant. People kill others to stop the prolonging of suffering again the reason is most relevant. Putting this as a rhetorical question should inform you enough about the writer’s sense of logic.

      1. Yvonne Ward

        Actually the judge does not take motive into account because it is not the judge who decides guilt or innocence, it is the jury. The judge decides on sentence. The reason or motive is not relevant in a criminal trial. It is only the facts that can be proved beyond reasonable doubt that are relevant and how can you prove a motive beyond reasonable doubt? And how can you talk about self-defence in the case of a man murdering his wife and three young children and then killing himself? This was not self-defence and it wasn’t a mercy killing and it doesn’t matter a damn why he did it.

        1. Aine

          Well, a lot of commentators here are judging his reasons as having sprung from an abusive and controlling ‘male’ personality. So to them it matters a great deal to have a motive ready, so they can use this case to speak of male abusers in relationship in general, no?

          I would say none of us has any proper details available. We are not in a position to play neither judge nor jury, yet I wonder had this case been the other way round (and there have been cases where women murdered their children, in fact mothers are leading that terrifying statistic..), would we see lots of commentators speak up against women in general, depicting them as often abusive, angels in the street and devils at home? I can’t say I have witnessed that, but maybe I missed it.

          To me personally, this specific case is a terrible human tragedy, involving individuals, never mind their gender. It should not be used to further ideology in any shape or form, and respect and compassion should be paid to those remaining, who loved these people. It appears the 2 families are grieving together. Hopefully they will find ways to heal.

        2. Tinny

          Your right depending on the case its indeed the jury. However thats beside the point. Fact is the motive is extremely important in any case. Just gave examples in which motive could be very important did not refer to this case particularly and obviously.

  2. The Real Jane

    Thanks, Gary. I felt like making remarks of this kind yesterday and wrote and deleted a post several times because I knew there would be a backlash and I didn’t really feel up to it. The fact is, that we throw around the number to the Samaritans at times like this – but not the number for women’s aid. I was very struck by a part of (I think) Rosita Boland’s article where she speculated that walking past a child protection notice at school, Clodagh must never have thought it would apply in her own life. We have no reason to think this at all. There has been an appalling lack of curiosity about this woman’s murder, the implication of going on about how tragic it is to kill your children (and it is) but we all understand how you could kill your wife. Women, eh? Can’t live with them, can murder them with knives and hatchets and pretend they never existed.

    Also, he was not a good man. He was not a good father. It speaks volumes of the low standards we expect of parenting that you can be described as a good father – after you actually murdered your children. Is there any way to be a bad father if that’s just a forgivable blip in your parenting?

    1. Vote Rep #1

      You’re right. People are concentrating mainly on the children getting murdered because nobody really cares that much about the wife getting killed as she is only a woman. A bit like Dunblane where the teacher who got shot has been somewhat marginalised while the focus is on the murdered children. It is quite obviously because she is a woman and not because people, rightly or wrongly, view the murder of children as being far more heinous then that of adults.

      1. Starina

        i think people, conciously or not, feel that children are total innocents while the wife may have “provoked” him, and “there’s two sides to every story”, etc etc etc.

        terrifying, really.

        1. Vote Rep #1

          Agree with the first part, completely disagree with the second part. I think (and seriously hope) that people don’t think like that. Its just that, as you say, children total innocents who have barely even lived. That is not to say that the wife is not also an innocent, just that to live a life, whatever life that may have been.

          1. Owen C

            Three people die in a car accident: 90 yr old, 40 yr old and 5 yr old. It doesn’t make us monsters to have the most sympathy for the 5 yr old.

        2. Portia

          Yes its always Eve ill Eve’s fault.

          She made him do it.

          If only she was a good wife and obeyed and knew her place in Irish society.

          I invite the author to come to family law courts and see for himself the truth.

          The judges often order the women and child victims home to obey like good children
          There were articles in the media on this – Justine McCarthy.

          Most medai are silenced on this as a solicitor pointed out to me.

          Legal advice is not to mention DV or child abuse – or you will be punished.

          I did not believe that once- but learned the hard way.

          1. some old queen

            May I remind you that a family were buried today. Under direction from the extended, they were all buried together.

            Whatever the rights and wrongs of gender politics this is not the time nor place.

            Have a bit of respect please.

  3. ReproBertie

    The Irish Times clearly picked up on the mood around the reporting. Yesterday they spoke about the house “where Clodagh Hawe and her three sons were murdered by their father” and “the four murder victims and Alan Hawe“ but this was after days of the airwaves filled with what a great guy he was and wasn’t he so considerate to leave his Mother in Law a note on the door so she wouldn’t discover the butchery he had left behind.

      1. ReproBertie

        And then the media went into overdrive on the murderer and how nice a fella he was while she vanished into the background. Clearly many people felt this way or the whole #hernamewasclodagh thing wouldn’t have happened.

      2. Owen C

        but apart from that Cian, and apart from the stuff i linked to, and apart from the other media stories which call this a murder. Apart from all those…

        1. Martina

          Owen C

          You have littered this piece with your “insights” yet not a single word of sympathy for the victims. What a disgusting individual you are.

          1. Owen C

            I have nothing but sympathy for them for what was a senseless murder. I have never suggested anything otherwise. I simply disagree with the notions of (a) that the media has decided not to call him a murderer (they have) or (b) that mental health wasn’t likely a contributory cause and because of that Irish society looks on this murder differently. Maybe we shouldn’t look at it differently, but that would mean we don’t look on a lot of mental health issues the way we do (as at least somewhat “victims” of their mental health problems).

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            “I simply disagree with the notions (b) that mental health wasn’t likely a contributory cause”

            I’ll take off the boxing gloves to pat you on the head just this once. NOWHERE in Gannon’s piece does he say or even imply that the murderer did not have mental health problems. He is saying that even if he did, the life of the victims and violence against women are more important conversations than whether the murderer was depressed. Ok? Good lad.

          1. Björn

            “I’ll take off the boxing gloves to pat you on the head just this once”
            “Ok? Good lad.”

            This is incredibly condescending in tone. Can’t we debate differing points of view like adults, without demeaning other people?

            Similar stuff from Martina; calling Owen C a “disgusting individual” and implying he has a lack of sympathy for the victims seems like a severe a disproportionate (and quite childish) response to what he is saying.

            I am not saying I agree with Owen C (and maybe I am missing some previous altercations, as I am new to the website) but shouldn’t he have the right express his opinion without being labelled “disgusting” or being condescended to like child?

          2. some old queen

            @ Björn

            There are a number of individuals on this site who are quite ego driven and approach debate from the perspective of proving they are right rather than engaging with others.

            You will never win against someone who has that bitchy one-upmanship mindset so until they cop on to themselves, it is best just to ignore them.

          3. Björn

            @some old queen

            I see. Maybe good-natured debate is a thing of the past!

            Ok, lesson learned, probably best to just keep it zipped and observe, for now! Thanks for the heads up :-)

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “and maybe I am missing some previous altercations”

            You are. He constantly tries to demean others so I demean him. Simple.

          5. Anne

            ” Can’t we debate differing points of view like adults, without demeaning other people?”

            Welcome to the internets Björn…

    1. ReproBertie

      So what? One or two examples of the use of murder doesn’t undo the amount of time spent telling us how wonderful the murderer was while ignoring Clodagh entirely. From early on it was reported as a murder-suicide while eulogising the murderer.

      1. Owen C

        “I was engaged in full blown @ireland Twitter rant about the media’s failure to name the murder of a woman and children as murder.”

        “In the aftermath of these ‘tragic deaths’, I learned that a man can literally get away with murder.”

        “Not just that the murder of a woman and her children becomes the footnote in a story about a man’s mental health, but that the woman is totally disappeared in all media discourse.”

        “is there any other crime in which we hold the perpetrator’s reasons to be more important than his actions?”

        Ok, i didn’t decide to write this nonsense

        1. ReproBertie

          It was reported as a “murder-suicide” and then the focus was on the suicide and what could have driven such a pillar of the community to do such a tragic thing and here’s dozens of character witnesses to tell us what a pillar of the community he was.

          1. ReproBertie

            And yet the news was about a decent man driven to suicide. The footnote, that he killed himself, became the focus instead of the terrible crime he committed. This need to understand why is probably a normal human reaction to something terrible but that it was done while paying little or no attention to the victims left a sour taste in my mouth and clearly the mouths of others too.

        2. MoyestWithExcitement

          “Ok, i didn’t decide to write this nonsense”

          See, it’s this kind of childish attitude that makes me pick on you.

        3. Nigel

          This is a bad-faith response to the article above. Clearly it’s about the horror of the crime and the treatment of the perpetrator and the marginalising of the wife, not about whether it was or wasn’t referred to as a murder, as opposed to referred to as a murder and then filled with praise for the murderer.

        1. Dora

          I’m glad this was pointed out. This is an important issue that needs to be raised. However, it’s the usual Broadsheet practice of robbing other journalists’ stories with no accreditation.

          1. Saturday Night Newsround

            It’s perfectly understandable that journalists overpaid for writing one half-good article a week would find it difficult to accept that the occasional civilian can write as much and do it better.

            I suspect though as Broadsheet continues to publish the story theft smear will run out of steam.

            What’s interesting is that other media didn’t themselves see the relevance of the views expressed in the Guardian article to this situation.

            An excellent and thought-provoking piece. Well done.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          No I’m using a complex method, involving smoke signals and carrier pigeons, to post my comments here.

          Really though, it’s time I’m short on. Time, the everyman’s famine.

  4. b

    “To these people, I ask – is there any other crime in which we hold the perpetrator’s reasons to be more important than his actions? It is not speculation that he murdered his wife but let’s be clear, it is the absolute height of a culture of violent misogyny that we are not allowed to say this.”

    rubbish, the actions have already happened and can’t be changed, understanding the reasons may prevent another atrocity like this

    the feminist angle is an unnecessary point at this stage

    1. The Real Jane

      *understanding the reasons may prevent another atrocity like this*

      The thing is, there has been a lot of research into family annihilation and we do generally know why it happens. It’s not a mystery, it’s not a unique case. That we choose not to focus on it isn’t really that mysterious, either. Nobody likes to talk about domestic violence and the tolerance of it.

        1. Daisy Chainsaw

          No, only the usuall “don’t speak ill of the dead” rubbish that the violent murderer of his wife and children was a lovely man and a pillar of the community.

          1. some old queen

            What evidence would satisfy you that it was not? The plain fact is we don’t know, and probably never will.

    2. Casey

      Is it feminist to think it is wrong that Clodagh was removed from the story and everyone says what a wonderful man the murderer was?
      Is it femanist to think that wonderful father’s do not hatchet and stab their children to death?
      Is it femanist to feel sick when you realise how premeditated and cold these murders were as he took the time to leave a note on the door as Clodagh and the children lay butchered inside?
      Is it femanist to react with disbelief to the news that his own Mother wants Clodagh and her children buried alongside their murderer?

      Then fupp me I must be a femanist.

  5. Waddy Dilson

    I haven’t paid any attention to ANY media relating to this case apart from an initial article on the journal.
    The sentiment of everyone I’ve spoken to was exactly that it was murder, that Clodagh was a poor and brave victim
    The other sentiment is that the entire health system failed the four victims, there’s no way around that!

  6. Peter

    I am always appalled when in these situations the husband/father is always referred to as a good man, loving husband, great father etc. He was none of those things. He murdered his entire family, the very people he should have been protecting. He deserves none of our sympathy or understanding. He only deserves our hate and revulsion. The only victums are his wife and children.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      If it turned out that everyone had been sedated and smothered in their beds, there’d be some element of doing it “out of love” in the course of some sort of mental breakdown . The fact that the murder weapons were knives and a hatchet show that there was nothing loving about hacking his children to death. The post mortem reported that Clodagh died of head injuries so this was an appaling act of hate towards a woman and three children.

    2. Jimmy Ireland

      He very much deserves our understanding at the very least. You’re seeing the coverage of him role in the community in the wrong light. It’s the very fact that he ‘seemed to have everything going for him’ that shows how mental health can affect absolutely anyone. That in spite of being popular, successful and driven it is still possible to be chronically disturbed to the point of familicide. He’s not some loner, there’s no evidence thus far of ongoing domestic violence and he wasn’t a criminal with a long history of violence and substance abuse. He was a perfectly normal man up until the moment he murdered his entire family.

      You may not want to understand him – but I certainly do and I want others to want to understand that too.

      1. ahjayzis


        Outwardly he was a perfectly normal man.

        We have no idea what he was like when the front door closed in the evening.

      2. Archie

        Most people who commit massacres have “mental health problems” but we don’t eulogise them and place their “issues” over the fact that they VIOLENTLY MURDERED their entire family with a HATCHET and KNIVES. Do we? Do you feel this way about the man who most probably had mental issues and drove over all those people in Nice a while back? I don’t think so.

    3. Neilo

      My first reaction to this horrible news was that this person thought he owned his family and could do what he wanted with them, up to and including murder. It hasn’t changed one iota since then.

      1. Coppélia

        +1 Neillo Echoed a similar sentiment in conversation last night. This was not a man who just “snapped”. Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, but one can safely assume that behaviour is always consistent.

        1. classter

          ‘one can safely assume that behaviour is always consistent.’

          Jaysus, really? The psychologists can pack up their stuff & re-assign for duty in some other field of study so.

  7. Cian

    “Men murdering women is unfortunately not unusual; an average of one woman is murdered every month and in half of resolved cases, it was by an intimate partner, ”
    So there are 12 women murdered each year, and 6 are killed by their partner… that actually sounds unusual to me as there were 4 men murdered each month (usually by men). So men are 4 times more likely to be murdered than women.

  8. De Kloot

    Myself and my wife had this exact conversation in the days following this grotesque and evil act. It’s outrageous that Clodagh Hawe’s loss of life should go unrecognized and that her killer’s life should be so roundly discussed. I imagine it’s the macabre nature that certain aspects of society find the mind of a murderer perversely titillating.

  9. Harry Molloy

    Heard Ian O’Doherty on the radio saying similar. He blamed it on the metal Heath industry and the deference to it preventing us from saying what really occurred here, a murder.
    A murder suicide is treated with a lot more sympathy for the perp than a murder, rightly or wrongly.
    Not too sure how I feel about that, think it depends on the circumstances of the case and I don’t know enough about this.

    1. Owen C

      Simple question – should we treat people with mental health problems who commit a crime the same as those who do not have mental health problems and commit a crime? That is literally your choice here.

      1. andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        TheRealJane explained about this yesterday. Apparently in a lot of these kind of cases it’s not viewed as a mental health issue. I’m not the expert but I’d say she’ll fill you in.

          1. classter

            Nope, intoxication is not a legal defence.

            It is, however, one of a multitude of factors considered by any reasonable person when thinking about something so completely out of the realms of understanding of most of us.

          2. Coppélia

            Perhaps… but unlike insanity it is voluntary.Any reasonable person would afford the distinction between that which is voluntary and involuntary

      2. The Real Jane

        There’s no evidence that he had a mental health problem. People who commit these crimes typically don’t. I mean, it makes sense for us who haven’t done things like this to say that he must have a terrible issue, can’t be right in the head, something happened and he just snapped, obvs, nobody would just do that… but actually, for these cases, that’s not really what happens. This man was of sound enough mind to leave notes and letters around the place to frame the event according to his view of what he was doing, so he did it in the full knowledge of the consequences for his family, the person who would happen upon the scene and what it would do to his reputation.

        He didn’t just snap.

        He didn’t act without knowledge of the consequences.

        It wasn’t an unforeseen or unforeseeable result of carelessness.

        We read today that Clodagh was a quiet woman who was not involved in the community. I suspect we will hear more about this great man’s controlling nature and how she was living in pretty horrific conditions pretty soon. These murders of families happen when a controlling bully senses that their hold is diminishing and they then commit the ultimate act to control the situation and everyone in it.

        1. Medium Sized C

          You are saying a lot here.
          If you know enough about the case to say all this, maybe you shouldn’t be talking about it in a comments section.

          1. Owen C

            Agree. I asked above – was there any suggestions of domestic violence or similar issues? I have yet to see that. Is this complete speculation or based on facts?

          2. The Real Jane

            I know nothing more than is reported in the newspapers. However, the drivers and motivations of family annihilation are quite well known.

            That Clodagh wasn’t all that active in the community is reported in today’s examiner in a piece linked in this comment thread. This trait is quite common in women who are being subjected to coercive control which is a form of domestic abuse. Family annihilation is the end point of some domestic abuse. It’s an extrapolation but not based on anything other than published information widely available to anyone who cares to read it.

          3. Owen C

            Indeed Jane. Myself included.

            “September 2, 2016 at 10:42 am
            is there suggestions of domestic violence in this situation, before this week’s events?”

            So, to clarify, we have no evidence or suggestions outside of this blog of the man being involved in domestic violence or abuse before this week’s events? Grand.


            People with mental health issues – should they be treated as normal criminal or viewed differently? Gary Gannon seems to suggest the latter. Discuss.

          4. ReproBertie

            Domestic violence, of course, is something that we always discuss with the neighbours so if there’s no mention of it then it obviously wasn’t happening.

          5. Jimmy Ireland

            The armchair investigators out in force again churning out paragraph after paragraph of unsubstantiated speculation and hearsay.

            Actual investigations take too long for bloggers so they just rush ahead and fill in the blanks themselves to suit whatever agenda they are pushing.

            I doubt even the detectives investigating the case can speculate with any real certainty on the motives or the exact timeline of what happened that day, so I can’t comprehend how you can.

        2. Owen C

          Is the decision to end one’s life not signifying some sort of mental health problem? Just because he did not have any reported mental health issues doesn’t mean he didn’t have any actual mental health issues. Ireland doesn’t deal with these issues very well from a number of perspectives.

          1. Niamh

            is the decision to kill one’s wife and children not signifying a sense of them as appendages of you, of control over them, of hatred, of a desire to prevent them from getting away?

          2. Owen C

            Yes. Brought about by mental health issues. Its not like the issue of horrendously high suicide rates in Ireland hasn’t been covered in the media just a bit over the last 5 years or so.

          3. Owen C

            Interesting point. Extreme political (our own bobby Sands) or religious beliefs can be consistent with sane mental health and a willingness to end one’s life. That’s why i said ‘signifying’ and not ‘confirming’. As neither of these political or religious motives were involved here that we know of, mental health problems would seem to be the most likely cause.

          4. Owen C

            NHS: “It’s estimated 90% of people who attempt or die by suicide have one or more mental health conditions. “

          5. ReproBertie

            Just because there was no reported domestic violence doesn’t mean there was no actual domestic violence. Ireland doesn’t deal with domestic violence very well from a number of perspectives

          6. The Real Jane

            It’s a bit shocking that people so willingly accept that a man capable of such terrifying, shocking and violent rage (I say this because he murdered four people, not because I have access to any TOP SECRET CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION) never gave a single sign of it at any time in his personal life.

          7. Owen C

            Jane, i am suggesting mental health problems because in 90% of suicides, there is mental health problems. I’m not exactly going out on a limb to think this is one of the 9 in 10. Do you have similar statistics for how often domestic violence is involved in murder-suicides (genuine question)?

          8. The Real Jane

            I can’t find anything more solid than “often”. Women’s Aid in the UK had a small study which concluded that out of 13 families studied, domestic violence was a feature in 11. In one of the other two cases, the mother spoke of her ex-partner’s obsessively controlling behaviour. Of course, in the UK, coercive control has recently been added to the types of behaviour that are considered domestic abuse and a crime.

            So it’s not too much of a leap.

          9. Emma

            People with most common mental health issues are most likely to harm themselves not other people, if he had a psychotic illness there would have been no way for him to cover it and if he’d had a psychotic break the notes, the arrangement to have the mother come to the house the next day, the method by which he killed himself these things would be different

            Can’t give you stats they are easy to find online but attributing crimes like this to mental health issues with no consideration for the real life experience of mental health issues creates stigma against those of us who suffer with them

        3. classter

          @The Real Jane

          I have quite a bit of sympathy for your opinion here but you seem certain of what happened, certain enough to generalise across a whole class of horrendous crimes, while having very few facts

          1. Nigel

            She is clearly genralising, and quite usefully, too,. in the sense that it gives context for what is best understood to be common in these types of cases, as opposed to what everyone seems to be assuming. That this cuts against many assumptions seems to be causing a certain amount of pushback.

      3. Niamh

        Owen, there is no evidence that this man had mental health issues. A few comments up, you make the point that there is ‘no evidence’ of domestic violence in the house prior to this either.

        You seem happy to believe that the murder indicates mental health issues must have been a factor. But you are not willing to suppose that the murder indicates domestic violence was a factor. This murder could be the culmination of years of hidden abuse. Even if family members knew, they would not be the first family to keep domestic abuse under wraps, out of shame or a sense that the woman deserves it, or that it is her business.

        More men are murdered than women and this is true, but they are murdered by men. More women are murdered by men than men murdered by women. This indicates a gender issue with violence.

        A rapist will have his ‘good character’ considered in court, even though the act of rape arguably indicates a rotten character – but no, in Ireland the legal system can hold both of these things in balance. A man can be decent and devoted but have a slip-up, it seems, and intimately hurt and/or kill members of his own family. That is not firing a gun, going to war, getting in a drunken brawl – that is stabbing another human being, one who is weaker than you, repeatedly, and at close range, then moving on to do it three more times.

        I have suffered from mental health issues and been, at times, beside myself, or out of myself: I am hurt by suggestions that mental illness is solely to blame here, but accept that people can and do act in violent ways when mentally imbalanced. I accept this can be true. Now, you are a man (clearly) and averse to tolerating any ‘feminist’ discussion of this crime – a crime which looks a lot like many, many other murder-suicides by fathers, a pattern studied and theorised at length, and generally accepted to relate to a need for power exacerbated at a point when the wife/children attempt to leave – even though it is equally fair to speculate that domestic abuse lies behind this.

        1. Owen C

          “You seem happy to believe that the murder indicates mental health issues must have been a factor. ”

          Nope, im happy to believe that suicide indicates mental health issues. I don’t think that is a radical suggestion. Speculating on previous domestic violence literally has no basis in fact. The attempt/want/willingness to kill oneself is actual real evidence of mental health problems.

          1. Niamh

            Murdering your wife and children is actual real evidence of domestic violence.

            Has it occurred to you that his suicide also spares him from taking responsibility fotr it?

            I am saying BOTH issues are potentially at play, but you want to stick with one only, because it fits your personal narrative.

          2. Owen C

            Niamh, i’m responding to a blog post which completely ignores the issue of mental health being a contributory factor. Its not my job to provide the balance in here.

          3. Niamh

            It has been reported, Owen, that there is no evidence of mental health being an issue – murderer was considered sane and able by everything. In fact, apparently he was terrific.

            Therefore your heroic quest to cry down queries regarding domestic violence with whataboutery are not actually grounded in anything other than your personal interpretation of the situation. The Real Jane is, on the other hand, talking about recognised criminal profiling patterns at play in family annihilation, a phenomenon understood to be common enough to have certain characteristics and tendencies in common between one case and the next.

            You’re not providing ‘balance’, no: you’re engaging in whataboutery to diffuse the discussion re domestic violence.

          4. Owen C

            “Therefore your heroic quest to cry down queries regarding domestic violence”

            Im not suggesting “crying down queries”. Indeed, it is completely correct to wonder aloud. It is not correct to speculate that this “probably” happened when we have no evidence to suggest it did. Would i be surprised if it happened? God no. But i don’t see the point of this become a baseless gossip page devoid of any rational analysis. As i said to Jane above, if someone has statistics showing how many murder-suicides involve previous domestic violence, that would be a useful addition to the discussion. Stuff based on “well i think….” is less so.

          5. Emma

            Owen you clearly have no idea and have never faced mental health issues stop speaking as if you know the first thing about them

      4. Harry Molloy

        that is the key question but it does need to go a little deeper, ie what was the mental health issue and was it severe enough to warrant being a mitigant of responsibility.

        I mean, if someone was prone to the odd bout of depression that may not be enough to absolve them from being called evil for killing their family, But severe schizophrenia may be.

        That’s why I said case by case.

        1. Coppélia

          Was he aware of the nature of the act, the consequences of his act .Did he know what he was doing was wrong? The instruction left to “call the Gardai” , the note explaining his reasoning for murdering his entire family would suggest that he knew exactly what he was doing and the consequences of his own actions.

        2. Starina

          How are people more accepting of the idea that he might have secretly been suffering from severe schizophrenia and nobody knew, than the idea that he’s a domestic abuser and nobody knew?

          1. Owen C

            who mentioned severe schizophrenia? I think there’s some casual assumption that “mental health problems” = “completely mental”. It doesn’t. It could have been mild depression, irrational fears of her leaving him or him being isolated, something else similar affecting him. Just that he wasn’t fully 100% mentally healthy. As i have now said multiple times – mental health problems do not excuse horrific acts like murder. But they do go some way to explaining why they happened and cannot just be ignored.

          2. Harry Molloy

            in relation to your comment above, I don’t know why you would get the impression I’d be more accepting of one theory over the other.
            I’ve already stated I know nothing about this case. I was just addressing reactions when there is a confirmed mental illness.
            A murder is a murder is a murder. And that’s what we have here unless there were factors that mitigated responsibility which I don’t know.

          3. ahjayzis

            Owen, ‘mild depression’ in no way goes anywhere close to starting to explain something like this.

  10. andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    The tone of this piece irritates me. I agree with his point but it’s just so goddamn smug.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Ya…I get that too. He makes a point like tying a flag to a pole but then starts waving it around wildly.

      Given the evidence, this man murdered his wife and sons in a particularly brutal and pre-meditated fashion. And there are folk all week blaming it on depression??? It would take a robust team of medical experts with significant case history to get him off four murder charges. Until that kind of information gets reported, he’s guilty of four murders, dead or alive.

      1. rotide

        of course he’s guilty of 4 murders, I don’t know how anyone thinks he isnt.

        Has there been any media source that has said he is NOT guilty of murder?

  11. nellyb

    Gary is spot on about media coverage. He reminded me of the french cover of murdered priest. French gave minimum required coverage to the killer’s story, because it would have taken away from the real tragedy of elderly priest. I agree with them.
    The picture of father=murderer and 3 sons – that was the perfect bait that didn’t need any writing. Attention captured and quickly shifted. Mother was almost airbrushed out of family tragedy.
    I don’t think of it as some patriarchal plot by journalists. Just tasteless and disrespectful.

    1. b

      i think people a reading too much into it – the most likely explanation is that the press went with whatever picture of the family they could get first off facebook or some other source – if it was one with the mother front and centre of a happy family photo, that is what the front pages would have led with

      1. nellyb

        Well, yes, there is always that angle – a rush to get a picture. Timing is everything.
        But this particular story is emotionally charged, and the picture was bound (and intended) to trigger some kind of immediate thought response.
        When not seeing a mother on the picture, my first reaction was – did the poor boys grow up without a mother? That filled me with even more sadness. But then the print told me she died with them. The sadness escalation went on.
        The point being – reporters are perfectly aware of the first response they are likely to get. I wish they were a little more sensitive about delivering visuals for the story.

  12. Tony

    Maybe you are expecting too much of the media Garry. You seem to be holding them to expectations of your own and what they should do. Well you’re wrong. The media is about money and what sells. To think otherwise would be naive, Its like telling Coke they shouldn’t have sugar in their drinks cos its bad for you. This is why we get selective, inordinate and extensive coverage of Michaela McAreevy, Nicola Talent, Jill Meagher etc while many male murders get way less coverage. The media is a mirror of ourselves.

  13. dav

    All those “pillar of the community” excusers are basically saying that Clodagh deserved to die, I wonder why they hate her so much?

    1. Owen C

      Wow. Dav goes off the deep end. They want all women to die Dav. Anyone who says “God this is a terrible tragedy” and not “this is reprehensible evil against women” is obviously a women-hating-monster.

      1. ahjayzis

        I’d really love to know the reason why you’re so lazer-focused on acquitting this guy for the murder of his kids and wife. If he’d been resuscitated and survived, what then?

        1. Owen C

          eh, wtf? He murdered them. I’m actually pointing out where people have specifically called this a murder. What fupping planet do you live on?

          1. ReproBertie

            You come across as doing your damndest to excuse him the murder on the grounds that you think there were mental health issues at play.

          2. Owen C

            It is in no way “excusing” him. It is in some way explaining him.

            No one wants to answer the question i asked earlier, because we all know where it leads to: should people with mental health issues, who commit a crime, be viewed and dealt with differently than those that do not have mental health issues and commit a crime?

          3. ethereal

            what level of mental health issues are we talking about here? for instance should someone in a mildly depressed state(mental health issue) be treated differently?

          4. Niamh

            ‘No one wants to answer the question i asked earlier, because we all know where it leads to: should people with mental health issues, who commit a crime, be viewed and dealt with differently than those that do not have mental health issues and commit a crime?’

            Christ alive Owen, nobody is answering you because anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows the answer already. They ARE treated differently and viewed differently. Hence INSANITY PLEAS and the existence of the CENTRAL MENTAL HEALTH HOSPITAL as an alternative to prison.

            But yeah. Keep fighting for the truth there, bro.

          5. ReproBertie

            Maybe the question is being ignored because there is no evidence of mental health issues in this murder.

          6. Owen C

            Niamh, we all KNOW they are treated differently. But SHOULD they be treated. Christ alive you cant read. If we agree they SHOULD be treated differently, then that is why people are viewing a murder-suicide differently to a murder. That is literally the point of this article – why are we treating this murderer differently? Gary Gannon thinks its because he killed a women. I think its because he killed himself and may not have been in good mental health. Its not that difficult to understand the basic issue.

          7. JLK

            People are treated differently if mental health issues affect their ability to know right from wrong and act accordingly.
            While none of us have hard proof, it would seem from family & friend’s account that he was a nice reliable friendly guy and someone who murdered his family with presence of mind to leave notes incl one which would indicate he knew he done wrong and didn’t want family finding his slaughtered family. Someone having a deranged violent psychotic breakdown would not be able for that.

          8. Owen C

            The breakdown does not need to be a “deranged psychotic” one to be a mental break. I’m not suggesting he closed the fridge door and then decided to go on a killing spree. He thought it out and implemented his plan. If he had “just snapped” it would actually be less suggestive of mental health problems and more a bout of anger/outrage. But this was premeditated and we must try and figures out (if we ever can) what the ‘motives’ behind this were and to end his own life? If he was just bitter at his wife and kids he wouldn’t have killed himself as well would he? There is surely a mental health issue there somewhere. Fear of loneliness and isolation perhaps. As i said, 90% of suicides involve some sort of mental health issue.

          9. Owen C


            when the dust settles here, and we have a firmer understanding of what happened, do you think there is a low, medium or high probability of mental health problems being somewhere identified as a contributory factor in this murder-suicide? I think ‘high’.

          10. Nigel

            You’d probably have a better idea of the odds if you looked into what is typical in similar murder-suicides.

        2. some old queen

          People would prefer to believe that he snapped rather than that he committed premeditated murder of his wife and children. It is just easier to believe that is all. I expect we will never know.

          Forget the metal illness tag for a minute and ask a common sense question. How could anyone butcher their wife and children in such a way and be of sound mind? Is that even possible?

          1. The Real Jane

            I suppose it comes down to what you consider “sound mind”. Obviously it’s not normal behaviour that most of us can relate to easily, but I think the level of premeditation suggests that he wasn’t criminally insane. He was able to understand that his actions were not right, he wasn’t guided by voices or anything, he understood that his reputation would suffer and took steps to make sure that his version of events was available, he wouldn’t have killed anyone who knocked on the door on Sunday night so it wasn’t a sudden, uncontrollable, murderous frenzy, he didn’t want just anyone to happen on the scene and took steps to make sure that they were spared the sight.

            I would say that an plea of insanity wouldn’t easily hold up in court.

          2. Owen C

            A plea of insanity usually requires the “not knowing what you did was wrong” element. I doubt he thought that. He knew this was wrong but for some reason felt that was no alternative. You can have mental health problems without being legally insane.

          3. Niamh

            Because he feels that he owns them and that, if they leave, his sense of self, his dominant male identity, will crumble.

            And by the way, this isn’t my theory: it’s Lacan.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “You can have mental health problems without being legally insane.”

            Jesus. You truly think every fleeting thought that runs through your brain is an objective fact, don’t you. By your “thinking” ANYONE who commits a crime can ask for special treatment because of mental health issues. TV is not real life, you utter lunatic.

          5. JLK

            Too big a leap from mental health issues leaving you feeling like there’s no alternative but end your life to adding the violent murder of your wife & 3 kids. An insult to consider someone with depression to be that kind of risk to their family.

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s a discussion about violence against women, you donkey. Do you have a bet with someone on how many times you can make a fool of yourself on here? Cause you’d definitely be winning.

          7. Owen C

            @ JLK

            mental health issues is a generic catch all term. I am using it to suggest that there was some issues there that the average ‘normal’ (apologies) person does not have to deal with. It by no means that a slight issue is somehow suggestive of homicidal potential. But it is ridiculous to not think that there is a high probability of some sort of problem there. I will again highlight – mental health problems are not an excuse. But they may help explain.

          8. Owen C

            Yep. We’re not saying all women/wife-killers are suffering from mental health issues. Just the ones that kill themselves too (probably/possibly).

          9. JLK

            @ Owen C
            There are many variables that might help explain but excusing him under mental health issues is too easy…and he’s had easy time so far in media. That’s one of the issues here.
            If he had mental health issues, it may have been in the order of ‘a personality disorder’ and he was cold calculating psychopath that had everyone fooled. He had himself in such high esteem that he reckoned his family couldn’t possibly live without him so he had to murder them – not an easy or fickle act. That is the most extreme and violent behaviour imaginable and most definately not normal, but as you said it was likely a planned event. It meant he was aware of what he was doing, that it was wrong and so culpable for it. His suicide doesn’t make it ok or excusable.

          10. Nigel

            ‘Sound Mind’ to me is not killing your family.

            This is why no-one who killed their family has ever been convicted of murder.

        3. rotide

          Anyone reading this and saying Owen C is trying to ‘Aquit a murderer’ or ‘defending him’ is a fcuking idiot who needs to apologise to their parents for the money they wasted sending them to school.

          1. Deluded

            I think however than Owen C over-reached. He made a weak point about media coverage but strayed into mental health speculation.

          2. Nigel

            At this point the ‘he did it because of mental health issues’ thing is becoming an offensively bland and generic soundbite catchphrase and a lame substitute for real understanding. ‘For reasons we do not yet know or understand’ would at least be more honest and accurate, Some very specific things must have happened or been happening that led to this, and ‘mental health issues’ is just a woefully inadequate substitute for actual reasons, to the point of meaninglessness.

      2. dav

        it’s dav (without the capital) there’s a capital Dav out there, winning competitions, impersonating me etc

    2. Jimmy Ireland

      Has it occured to you that they are simply highlighting that even a pillar of the community is capable of being a complete psycho?

      Absolute nonsense to suggest that because the media is reporting on the murderer’s background they believe Clodagh deserved to die. That’s some real messed up reasoning there.

      1. Nigel

        Then it would be more about peeling back the ‘pillar’ part to examine the ‘psycho’ part, and it isn’t, though that may yet happen.

  14. Tish Mahorey

    Any mention of GAA involvement is code for “Respectable white Irish who we approve of”. It’s the opposite of “Known to Gardaí”.

    Irish media reportage is full of that.

    “Common Law Wife”
    “From a large family”
    “New to the area”
    “Kept to himself”
    Recently separated”

  15. Tish Mahorey

    People here are attacking Gannon just because of his leftist politics. It’s so obvious.

    If this article was presented as the original Greenslade article from the Guardian, then everyone would be nodding in agreement.

    1. Owen C

      Jesus Tish. Its always left vs right with you. Give it a rest and cop on. People have been murdered. There’s no left-right way to spin that.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        That’s right. People have been murdered. Yet you think it’s appropriate to end your first post on the thread with a sneering ‘facts, eh?’ and also referred to the piece as ‘nonsense’ before obsessively searching Google for articles that you think prove him wrong. It’s been one long ego stroking exercise in attacking a political figure you don’t like. You’re using their deaths to score points. I’d tell you you should be ashamed but you’re evidently not bright enough to understand.

        1. Owen C

          Awesome input as always. Amazing insight into the actual issue. Its always about the personal battles with you isn’t it? Huge on rant, low on insight. The Moyestie way.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Insight” Because it’s your duty as an anonymous nobody to provide “insight” to this website which would exist if you never came here. You are truly delusional. Stop sneering at other people to build up your self esteem you silly little man.

        2. spudnick

          Awesome irony here Moyest. Truly staggering stuff. This ballsology of an article hijacks a murder-suicide to make a mystifying point that women are being oppressed, and criticism of *this* is tasteless and point scoring?

          Does anyone truly believe that a cabal of woman-hating journos went out of their way to anonymise the mother in this story? They went the way of tasteless public interest: who would do this awful thing, and why would he do it? Nobody thinks he’s amazing or a top guy, quite the opposite.

          Name me Catherine Nevin’s husband? Name one of Fred West’s victim’s? No? Neither can I. That’s not proof of a journalistic plot to anonymise victims in murder stories, though.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Nobody said it was a plot or a conspiracy, ffs. You’re so touchy you’re seeing things that aren’t there.

          2. spudnick

            Hyperbole on purpose ;) But really. What else is ‘the woman is totally disappeared in all media discourse’ trying to say? It’s just such a blinkered and context-inappropriate way to try to make a point.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            “What else is ‘the woman is totally disappeared in all media discourse’ trying to say?”

            That the woman has disappeared from the media discourse. Seems pretty simple. You’ve completely made it up in your head that anyone is even thinking about an anti woman conspiracy.

          4. spudnick

            Have you not read the original Linnea Dinner blog piece? That’s where all this ballyhoo kicked off.

        1. LW

          In fairness, he replied to a comment you made, I think that’s the point of the comment section. And wouldn’t the guardian be seen as left-wing as well?

        2. classter

          It isn’t clear how this is a left-right issue though, Tish.

          If anything, the suggestion usually is that the ‘left’ are keen to absolve criminals & to explain and understand them.

    2. Jimmy Ireland

      Just because it’s an articled filled with ill-informed, populist nonsense doesn’t automatically mean it’s leftist.

      1. Tish Mahorey

        Not it’s not leftist. But because he is of the ‘Left’ he is being attacked. He could say anything but some here will always have a go at him because of his politics. It’s very transparent. Plenty of little Fine Gael shills on here, always alert to the notion of anyone advocating compassion over profits and greed.

    3. spudnick

      Linnea Dunne’s article, not Greenslade’s. But anyway:

      “everyone would be nodding in agreement”

      Have you seen the comments under that Guardian article?

  16. Frilly Keane

    Ah here Gary

    we heard ya the first time

    Lemme tell ya something
    Clodagh wasn’t the first girl to be murdered by her husband
    nor were Liam, Niall & Ryan the first to be murdered by a parent

    but heres the thing Gary

    Not a million years ago, a girl went to work and got a call to say her husband had killed her girls and himself

    And the then Minister Catleen Lynch knew more about this man’s mental health then this girl

    what was her name Gary

    Nothing changes does it……..

    BTW, I wouldn’t give this Hawe fella a funeral, I’d leave his corpse to rot

    1. nellyb

      “Underpinning most forms of child abuse is a belief that a child is a possession of an adult, of a parent or of the State, a possession for whom decisions should be made and who can be treated as adults wish to treat them. This belief has been at the centre of most of the failings by Irish society of children since the founding of the State and has underpinned most of the child abuse scandals emerging over the last number of years. ”
      Somewhat simplified, but i would not disagree. Being a parent is being a loving mentor and it often includes making decisions for your child. But making decisions for someone does not grant anyone the status of owner. Neither children owe anything to their parents even though child rearing is a tremendous effort. If kids are happy and loved, they’ll be looking after you without you ever asking for it. But happy kids don’t come from families with unhappy parents (with shaky mental health or other reasons). Parents staying together ‘for the sake of children’ is a damaging concept. If anything it teaches children all the wrong things. This is not an ‘analysis’ of the particular story, it’s an observation over long time. On a plus side, the young parents of today are more in tune with these things and it makes me happy.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        I would hope not. It used to be a place to air your opinions and debate an article. Now you just get accused of being a blushirt / shinner / apologist.

      2. Kieran NYC

        You’ve nailed the change in Broadsheet right there. Same few people having the same fights with the same few people day in and day out.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Yes we also have you making the same complaint. Every. Single. Day. It’s almost like you’re forced to read it.

  17. Eamonn Moran

    Despite calls from many on social media to describe this man as a murderer.
    It is actually not clear at all yet that he was a murderer. Take a look at this case.
    I genuinely dont think we know enough yet. I think the contents of the note will be very important.

    Is there any evidence of previous acts of domestic violence (DV)? Isn’t it possible Clodaghs mother would know about it if Mr Hawe had engaged in Domestic violence in the past since she was the boys Child minder while both parents worked? Her statement would suggest she didnt know anything of previous DV
    If not wouldn’t that give weight to the Idea that this guy did “just snap”

    In saying that I have heard some reports this morning that the way Clodagh was killed was different to the way the kids were. This would make the case for an act of DV stronger but still the majority of the important facts are missing.

    “is there any other crime in which we hold the perpetrator’s reasons to be more important than his actions?”
    I’m sorry, but this is a foolish statement.
    Yes thankfully there are lots of crimes where judges weigh motive, mental capacity, premeditation and lots of other factors are taken into account before sentencing.
    Its an extreme example but have you ever seen the movie ‘A time to kill’?

    Apparently a traumatic life event usually proceeds cases of murder suicide.
    Is there evidence of that in this case?

      1. Harry Molloy

        Do you think the case in the link was a murder?

        just out of interest, I’m not linking it to what happened in Cavan

    1. Harry Molloy

      Think that link is to the first (and only ?) use of diminished responsibility as a defence which was praised as being progressive as we are now more understanding and compassionate towards random and spontaneous mental episodes.
      That took quite a big trial to prove it though, not sure that could be done here since the perpetrator is dead and we will have an inquest rather than a trial.

    2. Spaghetti Hoop

      Nope, he’s definately a murderer.
      Until medical reports are confirmed or other evidence, it’s assumed that he knew exactly what he was at.

    3. Casey

      So ummmm….. he left notes in his own handwriting admitting what he did AND there is the tiny matter of him killing himself after Clodagh was butchered.

      Why do you need him to be innocent?

      1. Owen C

        he’s suggesting not guilty by reason of mental deficiency (as a possibility). He’s clearly guilty of the actual deed of killing them. I do not support the idea he was legally insane.

  18. William j kenny

    Well over 20 years I sat in the house of a man and his family where the big debate was changing his medication from Prosaic to a lesser prescription such that his employer would allow him back to work.

    The people of Saggart Co.Dublin attended the funerals of John and
    Martina Gorman and their daughter Sarah Jane (8) yesterday with
    feelings of sadness and bewilderment. Mrs Gorman’s 80-year-old
    aunt, who was also a neighbour, discovered the bodies of the
    mother and daughter on Thursday night, when she became concerned
    that she had seen neither throughout the day. Both were lying
    face down in their beds and an axe was found nearby. Early that
    morning a man died when he walked out in front of a truck on the
    nearby Naas dual-carriageway. His body was so badly disfigured
    that it was Saturday before he was positively identified as John
    Gorman, but the two incidents were quickly linked.
    Three months later Prosaic was banned in Australia have created similar horrors with men returning from the outback.
    The savagery manifested when the medication was stopped.
    Tragic class ridden Ireland.

  19. Starina

    It’s pretty harmful that anytime something like this happens (esp if it’s a white pillar of the community), “mental health” is trotted out as an immediate reason. It excuses the crime, lessens the blow of the violence, and makes anyone who DOES suffer any level of mental illness instinctively more wary of letting anyone know about their mental illness in case they’re viewed as having the potential to be the same.

    1. classter

      I guess most people struggle to comprehend an act like this in the absence of a liferaft explanation like ‘mental health’.

      It is also difficult to accept that anybody of ‘sound mind’ could or would do this, whether there is an specific, attributable mental illness or not.

      On your wider point, whatever emerges from this case, we are going to have to become more nuanced about mental health. Much in the same way, we don;t confuse a grazed knee with cancer, it is ridiculous to lump in all mental illness into one.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        “Much in the same way, we don;t confuse a grazed knee with cancer, it is ridiculous to lump in all mental illness into one.”

        Yes. Every single person that has ever lived has had “mental health issues” at some point in their lives.

    2. Eamonn Moran

      I have noticed that since this tragedy has happened, many people involved in the Mental Health community (people who try to lessen the stigma of talking about mental health) are doing some fairly unusual things.
      1. They are arguing that the media should be harsher and more damning of Mr Hawe.
      2. They are angry that reports about the mans previous good character are being used in the media.
      3. They are trying to frame this as an pattern of domestic violence by a sane man despite the fact there seems to be no evidence of previous cases of domestic violence yet.

      I have a huge issue with the motives of the people who are acting in this way. I think their main objective is to remove the idea of the possibility that this man had a mental health issue and i believe they are doing it for the reason Starina mentions above “and makes anyone who DOES suffer any level of mental illness instinctively more wary of letting anyone know about their mental illness in case they’re viewed as having the potential to be the same.”

      Perhaps a person with a mental health issue gets angry when they see someone like this described as perhaps having a mental health problem because they think. ‘But I have a mental health issue and thats not me!, I would never do that. So they don’t have a mental health issue they have something else!’

      I want to make something extremely clear to people who advocate for people with Mental health issues.

      Nobody with any level of intelligence thinks that everyone who has a mental health problem is capable of this type of act.
      If it turns out Mr Hawe was suffering from a ‘Mental Snap’ This is a very specific and unusual form of mental illness. Society does not think everyone with a mental illness is capable of such an act. I for one and I think most of the rest of society applaud people for talking about mental health and making mental health discussions more mainstream. It has undoubtedly helped a lot of people who up to now would have remained and suffered in silence.
      Although this reaction is a natural defensive reaction it is also seems to be lacking in logic, unfair and needlessly cruel to the extended family in Cavan
      This is the first time after an incident like this I have seen people in the mental health community act like this and i would implore them to have a rethink.

      1. Owen C

        “Nobody with any level of intelligence thinks that everyone who has a mental health problem is capable of this type of act.”

        You’ve come to the wrong place for that. Its all about agendas, biases and conspiracies around here. Basic intelligence gets in the way of the discussion.

        1. Eamonn Moran

          Do you think its possible some peoples motivation in this matter could be summed up in an incorrect logical simplification as follows.
          1. I have (or support people with) a mental health issue.
          2. They are saying this man who did this awful thing had a mental health issue.
          3. I am nothing like him and am completely incapable of committing such a terrible act.
          4. Therefore he did not have a mental health issue and I need to prove that or I and others with mental health issues will be stigmatized.’

          1. Nigel

            I think people are more concerned with conflating ‘mental health issues’ with what could potentially be a domestic violence situation, or a kind of pathologically controlling situation, both of which are somewhat likely and which are quite removed from what are commonly understood to be ‘mental health issues,’ sufferers of which typically are more a risk to themselves than others. People with mental health issues are sensitive to the idea of being stigmatised as potentially murderous, and this kind of coverage typically lack nuance or depth. in favour of lazy usages and bromides.

  20. moroccan rug dealer

    I suppose An garda are looking after the living in this case, dealing with devastation and trauma as are the clergy. I couldnt possibly bury my sister and her murdered children longside the man who brutally murdered them. Knowing she fought and had defensive injuries to protect herself and her children would make it a no brainer,. There should be a thorough independent urgent enquiry , fact finding as it may save innocent lives in the future.

  21. rotide

    I honestly cannot believe that this has generate this much comment.

    Is it really so hard to believe that a guy who, previously was seen as a pillar of the community, snaps and kills his entire family isn’t going to generate headlines?

    No one thinks ah sure hes a great guy he just snapped. They are comparing the perception of him before this crime and the horrible reality of the murders.

    it’s not a plot against women. Its news media.

    1. Starina

      anything to do with feminism or reminding people that women exist tends to generate a lot of commentary; mostly commenters telling women they’re wrong and it’s not a feminist issue. funny, that.

      1. rotide

        No, you are completely making that up.

        Nice bombings. Who got more coverage, Perps or Victims?
        Paris attacks – Perps or Victims?

        etc etc etc. seeing a trend?

        1. Starina

          that’s not what I’m talking about; you are deliberately misinterpreting. I wasn’t referring to media coverage, i’m referring to commentary *under* the media coverage.

    2. Daisy Chainsaw

      If Graham Dwyer had killed himself after murdering Elaine O’Hara, it probably would have been framed as touching, heartbreaking love story about how a popular “pillar of the community” was unable to live without his secret lover.

      We need to speak more ill of the dead in this country. Too many barstewards hypocritically eulogised as decent people.

      1. ivan

        I think that’s the crux of it. We’ve form for it. Godwin’s in 3…Dev wasn’t long calling by the German Embassy that morning.

        Calling this guy a murdering so-and-so the day after would be deemed ‘too soon’ but the news cycle moves so fast that even mentioning him in, say, 2 months time, sure the family is old news.

      2. some old queen

        Oh come on. Irrespective of whiter Dwyer was alive or dead, the same conclusion would have been reached.

  22. Mr M

    Because it isn’t evident that there was a history of mental illness doesn’t mean to say that there were other problems. It is too early to say until there is more information revealed; too soon to speculate if there isn’t anything obvious.
    Whatever was in the note that the mother-in-law had read only reveals that she has no hatred for him and wishes that the five deceased be buried together.
    Maybe, just maybe Clodagh had mental issues and was difficult to live with? Perhaps she wanted to leave him and break up the family. AND PLEASE I’m not making ill of the deceased it’s just I think nobody’s knows enough yet . Hopefully time will tell the reasons behind the tragedy.

    1. The Real Jane

      Indeed. Why would she be allowed to leave? After all, she did actually belong to him. Makes sense to murder her so that she couldn’t start another life.

    2. Starina

      I didn’t think of that — stupid Clodagh might have provoked him! Of course she deserved to be murdered if she was going to leave him and break up the family like a bad woman.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        He is a “Pillar of the community” after all, couldn’t have her damaging his hard fought reputation.

      2. Mr M

        @ Starina. That is the sickest response I have ever read. You really should look and what you have written. You should be damn ashamed of yourself. Perhaps you are far too above that.

        To the other feminists there; my point was that he was the murderer and, like everyone else I am curious to know why he did it. FFS. The thing is no one knows why he did it. This whole article was about how anonymous Clodagh is in the media. As one commenter said there is only a photo of the guy and kids another said there aren’t any other photos. But if you look at the photo in this article it is pretty poor.

        Quit your bitchin

          1. Mr M

            Sounds like you like to twist things; that’s not very clever or productive for discussion. I’ll not be wasting anymore time with you. Life really is too short

        1. The Real Jane

          *The thing is no one knows why he did it.*

          The thing is, your list of reasons why he may have done it are curiously…how do we put this?…victim-blamey. Yeah, she may have been difficult to live with, she may have wanted to leave. Clearly you think this would completely explain his actions or you would not have posited them as reasons for his actions. The other problem is that a lot of society is like you, prepared to accept the explanation that she drove him to kill and so for good measure, he killed the kids too. Because she just drove him to it.

          As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, there is a well researched explanation for why some people kill their families. We can speculate about all kinds of banal details but ultimately, he did this because he thought he had a right to. He considered his family to be his possessions and was so full of misplaced rage (I’ve read the descriptions of the killings, I think the method described indicates rage, I HAVE NO ACCESS TO ANY UNPUBLISHED INFORMATION) that he killed them all in the full knowledge of what he was doing and what the results would be.

          A left wing party in Spain offers the advice that when you consider killing your family and then yourself, why not just reverse the order? Why didn’t he reverse the order?

          1. Mr M

            That’s a very interesting point. Thanks. (I’m not being sarcastic)
            My point wasn’t to intend victim blaming, (but it is just another point of view or question/suggestion) the blame lies with the man with blood on his hands, that is crystal clear. None of them deserved to die. All of the family wiped out for as yet an unknown reason. All of them young.

  23. Harry Molloy

    So, we’re all agreed then??

    Good work everyone, with a little effort we can reach a consensus.

  24. Cian

    What’s all the fuss about? FOUR males died, only ONE female.

    So of course there will be more attention on the boys.

    Literally 80% of the corpses were male.

  25. LW

    Surely murdering your wife and children is not the act of someone who is mentally healthy?

    All of the commentary about how Alan Hawe was good dude, and a pillar of the community etc, was provided by people who knew him. It’s not unreasonable for someone to speak well of someone they knew and liked to a reporter. I doubt anybody knew he was going to do this.

    While I would also be of the opinion that one of the pre-requisites for being a good father would be not killing your children, I think it’s fair to say that the people who said he was a good father were referring to the behaviour they saw before this, rather than the murder. Una Butler says the same thing about her husband even now: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/una-butler-he-was-a-good-father-he-did-suffer-from-depression-35006798.html

    I also think it’s natural to focus on why he did what he killed them in the coverage, that doesn’t mean that it’s more important that what he did. That he murdered his family is widely acknowledged. It’s natural to wonder why a seemingly normal dude would do that

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      “Surely murdering your wife and children is not the act of someone who is mentally healthy?”

      One of the issues in the OP is the sympathetic angle being taken by some towards the father. Implication being that he is himself a victim, as well. I’m pretty sure Gary’s point, and that of many commenters, is his mental state is not a reason to show the murderer any sympathy. There are lots and lots and lots of people in prison for heinous crimes who have poor mental health.

      “All of the commentary about how Alan Hawe was good dude, and a pillar of the community etc, was provided by people who knew him.”

      And it was consciously asked for and collated by journalists trying to create a narrative. Also, I’m not sure any of that is relevant. Lots of murderers and Bad People have been highly regarded in their communities.

      1. The Real Jane

        The other thing is, sometimes you do a one off thing that shows your true colours. I think this is unlikely to be the case though. My suspicion, as I said above, is that there was plenty happening in that family that people were fine to turn a blind eye to.

        1. LW

          But what are you basing that on? Like her family insisted he be buried with them. If someone was beating my sister, then killed her and nephews, I’d be inclined to keep him out of the family plot

          1. The Real Jane

            Beating is not the only form of domestic abuse.

            I’m only basing it on probability. It’s unlikely that his first ever foray into coercive, violent, possessive behaviour was so spectacular. It’s often the case that, when something like this happens, people who knew the people involved are shocked at first and then as time goes on, they realise that they actually aren’t all that shocked and there were signs.

          2. LW

            Certainly. beating is not the only form of domestic abuse. But I’m not so sure about your probabilities. That’s absolute guesswork like. On hearing the news that an entire family has died, probability would suggest a car crash, that doesn’t apply here.

          3. The Real Jane

            But they didn’t just die. The father made the decision to kill them all, violently. It wasn’t just a weird one off thing that just happened, it was a fully caused event.

            I’m astonished that you imagine that someone who has never displayed controlling, coercive, violent, possessive or other abusive behaviour can commit an act of violence so extreme with no escalation or conflict or disturbance within the home at any time in the past.

          4. LW

            I would consider this the definition of a weird one off thing, he hadn’t done it before, and won’t be doing it again. I’m astonished you can so confidently speculate on the family history. It certainly may be the case that he was abusive, controlling etc, but I don’t see any major difference between saying that ‘he probably had a history of being possessive’ and someone else saying ‘he was probably depressed’. Both are equally valid, by which I mean pointless conjecture

          5. The Real Jane

            They are pointless conjecture, yes. However, one is based on a lot of research into this type of crime which is fairly well researched now and typically follows a pattern. I can’t really imagine any reason why people want to pretend that this isn’t a phenomenon that exists and follows a fairly predictable pattern.

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            “I don’t see any major difference between saying that ‘he probably had a history of being possessive’ and someone else saying ‘he was probably depressed’”

            It’s easy to draw a line between thinking you own someone and violently attacking them to assert your control. It’s not so easy to draw a line between someone who thinks everything is always going to be sh1t and knifing their wife and children to death.

            Also, labelling someone with depression as a potential murderer is unfair and irresponsible. Labelling someone who tries to control and oppress another human being potentially violent is quite logical.

          7. LW

            Jane I’ve no desire to deny a phenomenon, but I don’t know what phenomenon you mean, and I haven’t seen the research. What research?

          8. The Real Jane

            Well I’ve referred several times to the phenomenon of family annihilation. There is a wealth of information available should you wish to read it.

      2. Starina

        And the concept that he’s a victim, too, is another way of lessening the blow of violence – if he’s a victim, too, then it’s nearly a force of nature/Act of God incident in which nobody is really responsible. You see this sometimes in rape cases, too.

      3. LW

        Moyest I’m not saying he was good man, I’m saying that the quotes were taken from people who knew him. It is standard to ask people who knew the person in a news story about them. If a reporter asked you about someone you knew and liked, in the immediate aftermath of their death in circumstances you didn’t know a whole lot about, what do you think you’d say?

        And I don’t know what papers anyone has been reading, I haven’t seen a whole lot of sympathy for the fella who killed his family anywhere. People can’t understand why he did it, and are asking why. That’s not the same as saying “ah the poor fella”.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “Moyest I’m not saying he was good man”

          I know you’re not.

          “I’m saying that the quotes were taken from people who knew him”

          But did they really know him? Probably a lot of people who thought Bill Cosby and Rolf Harris were nice chaps.

          “If a reporter asked you about someone you knew and liked, in the immediate aftermath of their death in circumstances you didn’t know a whole lot about, what do you think you’d say?”

          That’s my point. If I’ve only seen the chap when he’s buying stuff in my butchers or dropping his kids off to my school or sitting at the desk next to mine in the office, how likely is it I’m going to tell the journo ‘Yer man was a wrong’un”?

          1. LW

            In fact, that is my point. Where exactly were they supposed to source the comments saying he had a history of being abusive? Granted, they could come here for them, but this thread wasn’t around at the time

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            No, lets not be dishonest. You cited the neighbours as evidence he wasn’t abusive. What are you implying? None of them said he was abusive so journalists and commenters here shouldn’t speculate that he was? Is the fact he murdered her not evidence?

          3. LW

            There’s the Moyest I know! And you were being so calm. I didn’t cite the neighbours as evidence he wasn’t being abusive. I’ve no idea whether or not he was. Certainly killing your wife and kids would surpass my personal threshold for abusive. I’m saying the reporters would’ve asked people if they knew the family, if they’d anything to say about them. And the few people who did respond, and the statement released by Hawe’s principal, spoke well of him. Which is completely natural. And these were the quotes in the paper. What I’m saying is that it’s a bit much to expect everyone to suddenly decide he was a prick, or that even if they do think that, that they’re gonna tell a newspaper.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “There’s the Moyest I know! And you were being so calm.”

            Ok then.

            “I didn’t cite the neighbours as evidence he wasn’t being abusive.”

            So why even bring them up? In what way are they relevant?

            “What I’m saying is that it’s a bit much to expect everyone to suddenly decide he was a prick”

            ….Ok…. Maybe I missed something but where is anyone complaining that the locals didn’t speak ill of him.

  26. Tina Andreucetti

    Not my words but in light of misdirected dialogue towards me I want to share this “Both touched and saddened by the reactions to yesterdays post. So many shares and private messages mean it struck a chord, and your responses mean a lot. thanks.

    Some expressions of embarrassment and shame – we can’t judge, shouldn’t talk about it, its not our business – remind me of how painful we Irish find naming family breakdown, abuse and local scandals. The details of a particular case are not the business of us all, but if we are happy to talk (at length, on tv reports and by buying newspapers) about the psyche and pain of the murderer, then it is not ‘respectful, compassionate or dignified’ to be offended by those seeking to name the victims.

    We have gotten better at supporting vulnerable families and I am deeply confident that we can continue to do better – we can unlearn the unconscious silencing of family shame, we can acknowledge abuse in our communities, we can support one another better, we can stop saying that parents who murder their children were well intentioned but not themselves that day.

    If we can’t do it for our own families, for the families our own children will hopefully one day create – we might try and do it for these
    families who will never get the chance to grow old together – the 87 women and 14 children murdered by domestic partners (or ex’s) in Ireland since 1996, and their families and friends left to mourn them.

    Sandra Tobin, March 1996, Age 35
    Noeleen Cawley, April 1996, Age 39
    Martina Halligan, May 1996, Age 33
    Angela Collins, May 1996, Age 49
    Patricia Murphy, May 1996, Age 36
    Maura McKinney, August 1996, Age 58
    Janet Mooney, September 1996, Age 29
    Bernie Sherry, April 1997, Age 44
    Kitty Gubbins, May 1997, Age 70
    Elizabeth Troy, July 1997, Age 60
    Sheila McDonagh, September 1997, Age 26
    Mary Kelehan, December 1997, Age 49
    Mandy Smyth, January 1998, Age 26
    Chantal Bergeron, August 1998, Age 42
    Catherine Hegarty, February 1999, Age 33
    Marie Hennessy, May 1999, Age 36
    Bente Carroll, May 1999, Age 45
    Catherine Mullins, October 1999, Age 43
    Maeve Byrne, September 2000, Age 37 and her sons Alan aged 10 and Shane aged 6.
    Jean Reilly, December, 2000, Age 34
    Jennifer Wilkinson, December 2000, Age 24
    Susan Prakash, December 2000, Age 28
    Mary Whelan, March 2001, Age 27
    Debbie Fox, July 2001, Age 30 and her sons Trevor aged 9 and Cillian aged 7
    Geraldine Kissane, October 2001, Age 23
    Linda Dunne, September 2001, Age 24
    Lorraine O’Connor, October 2001, Age 19
    Joan Power, March 2002, Age 43
    Rosie Collinson, March 2002, Age 50
    Niamh Murphy, May 2002, Age 20
    Carmel Coyne, August 2002, Age 42
    Jean Scanlon, January 2003, Age 33
    Cliona Manger, February 2003, Age 20
    Natasha Gray, February 2003, Age 25
    Georgina Eager, May 2003, Age 29
    Xiang Yi Wang, July 2003, Age 21
    Ann Flynn, August 2003, Age 50
    Dolores McCrea, January 2004, Age 35
    Janet Chaney, April 2004, Age 47
    Rachel O’Reilly, October 2004, Age 31
    Colleen Mulder, December 2004, Age 41
    Celia Bailey, March 2005, Age 54
    Mary Hannon, April 2005, Age 59
    Catherine McEnery, July 2005, Age 35
    Ann Walsh, August 2005, Age 23
    Rosemary Dowling, October 2005, Age 49
    Siobhan Kearney, February 2006, Age 37
    Karen Guinee, June 2006, Age 23
    Sheola Keaney, July 2006, Age 19
    Rose Patterson, April 2007, Age 30
    Ciara Dunne, April 2007, Age 23 and her daughters Shania aged 5 and Leanne aged 2.
    Sara Nelligan, June 2007, Age 31
    Jean Gilbert, August 2007, Age 46
    Amanda Jenkins, October 2007, Age 27
    Joanne Mangan, October 2007, Age 20
    Marion O’Leary, October 2007, Age 53
    Ciara Ni Chathmhaoil, November 2007, Age 22
    Lorraine Flood, April 2008, Age 38 and her son Mark aged 6 and daughter Julie aged 5
    Kezia Gomez Rosa, August 2008, Age 26
    Carmel Breen, November 2008, Age 57
    Noeleen Brennan, November 2008, Age 38
    Celine Cawley, December 2008, Age 46
    Rebecca Hoban, December 2008,Age 28
    Joan Vickers, April 2009, Age 43
    Lisa Doyle, September 2009, Age 24
    Joselita Da Silva, October 2009, Age 33
    Loredana Pricajan, January 2010, Age 36
    Breda Cummins, May 2010, Age 31
    Helen Donegan, May 2010, Age 30
    Sarah Hines, November 2010, Age 25 and her son Reece aged 3, her daughter Amy aged 5 months. Sarah’s friend Alicia Bough was also murdered.
    Katarzyna Barowiak, March 2011, Age 25
    Diane Burroughs, April 2011, Age 30
    Rudo Mawere, January 2012, Age 26
    Sarah Regan, February 2012, Age 30
    Mary Ryan, May 2012, Age 37
    Jacqueline McDonagh, August 2012, Age 34.
    Aoife Phelan, October 2012, Age 30
    Olivia Dunlea O’Brien, February 2013, Age 36
    Deirdre Keenan, February 2013, Age 51
    Elaine O’Hara (36) – remains found 13th September 2013, reported missing 22nd August 2012
    Jolanta Lubiene, June 2013, Age 27 and her daughter Enrika, Aged 8.
    Patricia Kierans, June 2013, Age 54.
    Sara Staunton, December 2013, Age 28
    Angelique Belling, December 2014, Age 27.
    Valerie Greaney, December 2014, Age 49.
    Marie Quigley, July 2015, Age 68.
    Clodagh Hawe, and her children Liam (13), Niall (11) and Ryan (6), August 2016.

    (details from the womens aid FB page- stolen lives post)
    Clare Haven support services: Confidential 24 hour Help Line 065-6822435
    Adapt services Limerick, 1 800 200 504

  27. Dynamo

    I think that the fact that he left a note for his mother-in-law is very telling: even after brutally murdering his wife and children with knives and hatchets, he was still careful not to let people see what he had done.

    I don’t, for a moment, believe that this was the first time violence had occurred in that house.

  28. newsjustin

    “but that the woman is totally disappeared in all media discourse.”

    No she isn’t. She was one of 4 victims in this murder suicide. We haven’t heard as much about her as we’ve heard about the murderer because it IS very strange for someone to commit such a crime and people are genuinely wondering why he might have done it.

    And it was called a “murder-suicide” from the get-go. This phrase, horrible though it is, does sum up what happened.

    Some people seem to be hijacking this atrocity to make their own points re gender politics or just fill column inches.

    If a woman had done what this father had done, she’d have been treated likewise in the press. Everyone one wants to know what drives a “normal” person (man or woman) to do such atrocious things.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      “Everyone one wants to know what drives a “normal” person (man or woman) to do such atrocious things.”

      And what have we found out about his motivations?

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          So what is ‘everyone who just wants to know why someone would do this’ actually doing?

          1. newsjustin

            Speculating and reassuring themselves that it would never happen to them. Welcome to the human race Moyest. You’ll pick up on our habits soon enough.

    1. Deluded

      I think, Owen C, that you over-reached yourself. It was a weak point about the media coverage but you strayed into mental health speculation.

    2. classter

      I thought you made a reasonable point, Owen C.

      You probably went a bit too definitive but you were being roundly attacked from all sides.

    1. The Real Jane

      You’re as morbidly and disturbingly obsessed with this Ruffino as Clampers is with Úna Mullally.

      Weird how you guys fixate on a specific woman.

  29. some old queen

    RIP to those gone and mental and emotional strength to those who are left behind, trying to understand.

  30. Cop On

    Curating the @ireland account. Jesus wept. Is there any more indication that you’re part of the Irish Luvvie Establishment than that?

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      No but thinking the ‘irish luvvie establishment’ is a thing does indicate a high level of bitterness and usually low self esteem. Happy weekend!

  31. Deluded

    “Apparent Murder Suicide” is how it was reported on Tuesday morning and that’s all we can actually say right now- which doesn’t make for tantalising headlines.
    All we do know is we don’t know much about Clodagh and that doesn’t sell papers.
    Without a data set we cannot deduce either their mental state or ideology.
    The article could have focused on past cases, how they were reported and the court findings to support its points.

  32. Peter Kearney

    This is a nonsense article in that it completely lacks sense. It also demonstrates a lack of learning. Do you want to end such misery or do you want it to continue? Sounds like you want it to continue by writing populist nonsensical articles. Nobody excuses murder. We want to understand to prevent it happening. Finger pointing and dividing people based on gender ensures the continuance of such misery.The convention in Istanbul or anywhere else will do nothing and the murders that this man committed is proof of this. We need to get in touch with each other – male and female and across all other divides – if we really want to make things better. This article does not help that case in any way.

    1. Niamh

      ‘We need to get in touch with each other – male and female and across all other divides – if we really want to make things better.’

      We are asking that people consider, face up to, the fact that family annihilation by men is a phenomenon common and standardised enough in Western society to have been studied and debated in detail by psychologists and sociologists.

      We are asking that you consider that this event seems to have several of the hallmarks of a ‘classic’ family annihilation scenario, as per Jane’s information above.

      This scenario pivots on male entitlement and female vulnerability within the structure of the nuclear family. Since most of us come from nuclear families, and since, traditionally, our government, professions, etc. etc. are predominantly male, since we are a country with a recent and very influential history of loyalty to a misogynist church that privileged the nuclear family and male entitlement above all else, since this week Brock Turner was released from three months of jail for raping an unconscious woman in ‘twenty minutes of action’, there is, perhaps, just perhaps, a degree of discomfort with facing up to the very unpleasant messages a phenomenon like family annihilation makes extremely obvious or exaggerates when it occurs – that is, male entitlement and the normalisation of violence towards women as inevtiable or understandable (but reaction BY women to this – well, that’s just unreasonable feminazism, right?)

      We are asking people to consider that the reportage on this case, and insistence on heroising the killer, attempting to understand why he did from compassion instead of asking – reasonably – if violence and coercion were already a feature of that family structure (ask a woman: go ahead, ask as many women as you can today. Do they suspect he was controlling? Can they comfortably believe he may have been, based on their experience? Do they know of women in their family, history, group, known to have been paired off with controlling men, and everyone tut-tutted or turned a blind eye but generally adopted a ‘not my business’ approach?)

      That, my friend, is what ‘getting in touch’ looks like in this era of female emancipation. You are being asked – shock – to listen to us, pay attention to that list up there of women killed by intimate male partners. Countenance the fact that your privilege as a man excludes you from being vulnerable to this, but not us. Stop acting like it’s unreasonable for us to ask that we talk about it honestly and stop worrying about offending people. LISTEN to us. ‘Get in touch’. This is proving too difficult for a lot of pious and dishonest commentators on this thread.

    1. Guy Bague

      Jesus, you want more evidence of no research or an ability to read more widely than the Guardian online?

  33. Aine

    This is a terrible tragedy, 4 lives lost.. but it should not be used to further ideology. One sided reporting like this does not help us to battle mental illness, nor abuse.

    I myself have experienced violence in relationship, I am female, but I also know males who have lived through personal hell, their suffering caused by abusive wives or girl friends. As a female, I get sympathy, while many men who live with abuse, end laughed at. There should be no focus on the gender of victims or abusers, but instead we should look at why there is so much abuse. Statistics of domestic violence are to be treated with great caution, as many men never speak up. They don’t just fear their partners, but also the reaction of everyone around them, plus when we look at child abuse, it becomes clear that women are not angels by default. Child abuse is in majority committed by mothers.

    Stop fuelling the gender war by placing one sided focus, when our challenge is to deal with abuse overall.
    This is a human issue, not a gender issue, and the sooner we wake up to this, the more victims, male and female alike, any age, we can reach and aid.

    1. some old queen


      I have known of a gay relationship which was abusive and here was no woman involved at all. The victim was somehow ashamed and excused away the bruising but he finally did find the strength to leave him. If gay men still hide it than I am pretty sure srt8 men do much more so.

      1. Aine

        Most definitely, and what we are slowly finding out about this, indicates many men out there suffer in silence, no matter their sexual orientation. This finds very little coverage, which is a human rights imbalance, and as someone who has fallen victim of emotional and physical violence, I feel with everyone out there, who is trapped in the cycle, no matter their gender.

        I am glad the man you know managed to break free. It can be very hard, and I hope he is healing, as that too can take a long time, and men find even less support for this.

      1. Aine

        The number was in reference to that one was a suicide. That is still a life lost, but taking your own life still differs to taking the life of others, for me personally. As someone who has dealt with suicide thoughts, I would not have considered my life lost as such, if that makes sense, as I would have deliberately given it up. In a response somewhere else, I worded it as 5 dead.

        Hope this explains it to you.

  34. Niamh

    Serious question now, and this is important I think:

    For every woman reading this – which scenario, based on your experience as a woman in this country, do you think is more likely?

    [a] Good, decent, loving husband and father cracks out of nowhere and commits unprecedented act of extreme and unusual violence against his family, because he is depressed.

    [b] Street angel/house devil takes this controlling dynamic to its most brutally logical conclusion, bystanders rush to over-code event as ‘out of nowhere’ and maintain veneer of respectability.

    How many wonderful husbands/boyfriends do you know of who turned, out of nowhere, on their wives/girlfriends?

    And how many of your sisters/female cousins/girlfriends/female relatives ended up with controlling, moody, violent, or otherwise abusive men whose behaviour became a normal part of said woman’s life and was considered bad but ‘her business’ by everybody else?

    Because I can think of five off the top of my head, and I’m a millenial.

    1. Anne

      It could have been A.. His eggs mightn’t have been just how he liked them that morning and he overreacted a tad. Sorry, that’s terrible.

    2. Aine

      @ Niamh

      How about, how many women do you know, who turned from amazing mothers, to mental cases, causing trauma to their child or children? How likely is that, eh?

      Well, I know of my case, and my mother, and years of terror. Depressions changed my mother, and my childhood ended when her illness started. Yet none in the outside world knew. Not even my older siblings, who had left the home already, and we talk about 4 years before my mother finally accepted she needed treatment. By then I had stomach ulcers (I was 16 then) and doctors were horrified, unable to understand why I was in that state (as I had clear instructions from my mother to not speak to anyone, which as a child who loves her/his mother, and wishes desperately to please her and to help her – you obey). They warned me I’d not live to see 21. Then my mother finally accepted treatment, she ended hospitalised, all sorts, and still it took years before she returned to us mentally and emotionally as the woman we had known.

      I think the question here is more: How much do YOU know about mental illness, and what do YOU know about anyone, male or female, living along side of someone whose inner world has turned into a war zone? My father suffered just as I did, through those years, but he held on to his wife, because he loved her.

      All the things you list there – controlling, moody, violent, or otherwise abusive – don’t know gender. Women are very capable to be any of that too (child abuse statistics show mothers as the main abusers), and mental illness doesn’t know gender either. Thing though as is that many men who end living as victims of abuse, remain silent. You may know 5 cases of the top of your head where women are the victims, but very possibly know men who are as well, you just wouldn’t have any clue about it…

      1. Anne

        How much do YOU know about mental illness, and what do YOU know about anyone, male or female, living along side of someone whose inner world has turned into a war zone?

        There are plenty of people with ‘mental illness’ who wouldn’t harm a fly.. likewise there are plenty of abusive partners/mothers etc. who don’t have any mental illness, they’re just abusive arseholes.

        1. Aine

          Psychopathy seems linked to brain function, or none available brain function, but psychopaths are a completely different ball game all together (however, it seems reports are telling us that overall empathy levels in the general populace are dropping – which should really worry us).

          Mental illness is tricky, in my view. We are living lives very removed from our roots these days, and have seen a rise in depressions, aggression, vandalism, and and and. I believe we have to really find the causes of abusive behaviour, and to just say ‘abusive a*holes’ is too easy, and would basically also mean we are pretty much helpless against this phenomena. Yet therapy for abusers seems to show there is hope. Anger management can work, so there is something that can be ‘fixed’, which then also means something there was ‘broken’, and I’d say that in a way qualifies as mental illness. My view.

          1. Anne

            however, it seems reports are telling us that overall empathy levels in the general populace are dropping

            Reading any history book on human beings, I’d be doubtful empathy is a natural tendency. :)

            Anger issues are not really a mental illness though are they?

          2. Aine

            @ Anne

            “Reading any history book on human beings, I’d be doubtful empathy is a natural tendency. :)

            Anger issues are not really a mental illness though are they?”

            I know what you mean about history, as well as modern times, can have one despair and question empathy as a whole.. yet while we may can say empathy has never been very high, it worryingly enough seems to now even be dropping -.-

            I’d say anger issues play into mental illness, or at least mental defect. Having found myself on the receiving end of them, I clearly would go as far as to say insanity takes over, as certainly there isn’t a human being left one can reason with or appeal to *sighs*

    3. Anne

      “or otherwise abusive men whose behaviour became a normal part of said woman’s life”

      So when are these women going to decide to stop being victims and boot the fupper out the door before it’s too late? Serious question now..

      1. Aine

        @ Anne

        You see, the strange thing is.. even when it’s bad, you tend to ignore it. Many of us who end victims later in life, have one way or another experienced already trauma in childhood. To explain to you only what I can say in relation to my case – a part of me ended being forever 12. That’s when my mother fell mentally ill and I ended sort of driven into the role of carer. This wasn’t obvious, things happen in ways you don’t really think about. I loved my mother (who had been an amazing mothers and individual overall), and I wanted her back. I wanted her well again, and her telling me it was all my fault, that my being in this world had ruined her being in this world (until then I had not even known I had been an unplanned child), led to me developing a helper as well as a guilt complex.
        That little 12 year old remained a part of me, and while the rest of me grew up and strode out into the world, that child met others – but in a way always saw Mama, and wanted to still help Mama and make up for having been responsible that Mama had come to suffer so much.

        This does not happen at the forefront of your awareness, and I am even a quite aware individual, still, you sort of also don’t wish to revisit, so that you can gain more understanding. And in my case, the little child ended seeking out others who always had problems, so she could relive. I was lucky that the first ones I sought out, were not abusive, they just had issues, and I tried help.. tried heal them.. but eventually I ended with 2 individuals respectively, whose problems created serious issues for my safety. Yet, because I had already lived through quite a trauma in my childhood, and felt I had to make up for being in this world, and that I had to heal Mama.. – I stuck it out.

        Don’t ever underestimate us victims. We can bear to breaking point and beyond, due to our programming, and it is a strange fact that our weakness is also our strength. Funnily enough, because for the first part of my adult life, I wasn’t really aware of how deeply scarred I was, I listened to cases of abuse and also said ‘why don’t they just leave and kick their abusers into space?’
        It wasn’t until the trauma of my own past led me into those 2 relationships, that I began to understand, slowly, and in a terrible twist, part of me even thanks those 2 who ended abusing me in my adult life, as it has finally enabled me to deal with my childhood.

        I love my mother. She has passed away meantime, and I miss her terribly. Through out my adult life, she said sorry to me, and that she wondered what damages I may had taken from it all. But I always said I was okay, and I even believed that for the longest time, yet now I know I wasn’t okay, and although the illness wasn’t her fault, what her illness ended doing to me, wasn’t okay either.

        I am healing now, finally. I don’t feel guilty anymore, and while I still like to help people, I have learned I have rights too, and that I am allowed to say no to abuse.

        Hope my personal account has shed at least some light on how stuff can happen. It’s very easy to judge, but none is ever able to truly walk the path of another, and to exactly understand.

        What matters to me though is that we don’t make any of this about gender. Males and females can equally end abused or be abusers, and children are vulnerable no matter their gender too, and many who end abusers, often have traumas themselves, as it was the case with the two males who endangered my safety. I don’t hate them at all, but instead dearly hope they will find ways to heal as well, so they don’t keep victimising others on top of it, not to mention they did suffer too, they weren’t psychopaths, but just really broken beings, and while that doesn’t make anything alright, I do find it is important we learn about causes, so we may can come to prevent.

        1. Anne

          Thanks for sharing your story there Aine..

          I didn’t intend to judge anyone btw.

          I’m sure there are lots of reasons why people stay in abusive relationships.. one being, because it’s familiar. There’s lot of arseholes out there, that most people would run a mile from quicker than those who have a higher tolerance for abuse.

          1. Aine

            Hope it didn’t sound like I accused you of judging, apologies if so (!) for instead it is more that I know that I judged before I myself ended in such a situation, and before I came to understand how intricate it all can be.

            Can only speak for my case, but those 2 individuals, they didn’t advertise the immense issues they had. I knew they had problems, but never expected that these problems would lead to the abuse of my own self. Had I known this from the start, I certainly would have consciously backed away, but my helper complex pulled me in, and when it all turned sour, I stuck with it beyond what would appear sane, due to reasons I meantime have come to understand.

            Every case is different, every life is different, and I just dearly hope we can find ways to prevent the phenomena of abuse in the future, for a better and happier humanity.

    4. Deluded

      Hi Niamh,
      as per Anne, what if it was [a]?
      Or [c] or [d]?
      You opened with speculation, exactly as we see when something happens with travellers or muslims or refugees.
      You could have focused on established facts.
      Your excellent points and Gary’s article is lost in pedantry and easy deflection.

  35. ellen

    Do neighbour’s opinions have good track record here? – not from Police – example (though not at all related/same as this case ) – Police ask a serial killer’s neighbours for a description – Answer – ‘one of the nicest people you could meet’!

  36. rotide

    How in gods name did an article of this low quality get so many comments.

    We’re approaching peak reddit here, the poo posts get the most attention

  37. Derek

    @ Owen C: Don’t think the fact that he committed suicide is any indication of his overall mental health. Suicide isn’t always irrational. If you are facing a painful terminal illness, its probably not depression that makes you want to end your own life.

    Also, if you’ve just murdered your entire family, and know you will face life in prison as one of the most hated people in the country, suicide is probably a fairly rational response.

  38. ivor

    I’ve got a day off and decided to read this post and the comments.

    Gannon’s piece is, in general, good. The point that Clodagh was not given much attention was well made, but some of the rhetoric is overblown. The murder rate in Ireland is something like 1.2 per 100k. Saying that “Men murdering women is unfortunately not unusual” because an average of one woman is murdered every month is a little disingenuous. There are multiple lottery winners every month but it doesn’t make winning the lottery common. Domestic violence is a serious problem and domestic violence against women is disproportionately likely to result in murder. That’s an important point, so let’s leave it at that without adding colour.

    He also asks “Is there any other crime in which we hold the perpetrator’s reasons to be more important than his actions? It is not speculation that he murdered his wife but let’s be clear, it is the absolute height of a culture of violent misogyny that we are not allowed to say this.”

    Again, the sentiment may be good but the rhetoric borders on silly. We are not “allowed” to call the man a murderer? Really? You’ll find examples of reports saying he was a murder and who was going to stop Gary from calling him a murderer? The violent misogyny police?

    Take another example, from a couple of years back. A mother killed her three children and herself. The following report is from the Irish Examiner: Note the headline.


    “Tania Clarence, 43, was handed a hospital order at the Old Bailey after admitting the manslaughter by diminished responsibility of Olivia, 4, and twins Ben and Max, 3, at her south west London home last Easter.

    Afterwards, investment banker Gary Clarence said “lessons need to be learned” from his wife’s story of “dedication and love” which turned to “despair and utter hopelessness”.

    In a statement issued by his solicitor, he blamed medical professionals and social services for contributing to Clarence’s depression.

    The court has heard the children, who suffered from muscle-weakening condition MSA type-2, were found dead, tucked into their beds with toys arranged around their heads.

    Days before the killings, Clarence’s husband took their eight-year-old daughter, who is not disabled, on a holiday to South Africa, leaving Clarence alone with her other children, having given the nanny a day off.

    Sentencing her to a hospital order yesterday, Mr Justice Sweeney said there was “clear and convincing” evidence that she suffered a “major depressive episode”.

    He said that while the Old Bailey was “not the forum” to judge the conduct of the health professionals and social workers, the effect of their actions on Clarence’s state of mind was an “important factor”.

    A council spokesman confirmed a serious case review was under way.”

    Again, in this case we see the report about a woman who treated her children as property and killed them. Her mental state was questioned. The focus of the report is on her reasons and not on the victims.

    A similar report from the Irish Times can be found here:


    Now you can argue that such reports are not appropriate. You can argue that greater attention should be provided to the victims but what there is little evidence for is the idea that the reporting was somehow caused by a tolerance for violent misogyny.

    Using a more historical example, this Journal article examines historical examples of infanticide:


    The obvious sympathy for the murderers is obvious but I don’t think anybody would claim that the article is guilty of a tolerance for child abuse or murder. Even today, the typical response to when people find the dead body of a newborn baby is to assume that the mother is suffering from postpartum depression and to offer reassurance through the media that it is safe to contact the Gardai.

    Perhaps it will emerge over time that Alan Hawe was always a monster who abused and assaulted his wife and children. Perhaps it will emerge that he had no mental health issues. However, the cautious approach adopted by the media should not be attributed to some sort of mysterious anti-woman force.

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