Miscategorising the horrendous crime perpetrated against Clodagh Hawe and her boys

As the sun dipped behind the trees of a balmy Monday evening, news of the tragic and devastating deaths of the entire Hawe family – including their three beautiful boys Liam, 13, Niall, 11 and baby boy Ryan, 6, broke – sending shockwaves and utter disbelief around the country. 

            It may take an awful long time before any of us know what happened in that picturesque Cavan home last week. In fact, even after Gardaí have managed to piece together all of the evidence, it’s possible the full set of circumstances and the motives behind them may never be revealed.

  However, what we do know is that sometimes, when an impulsive action by individuals who may be experiencing mental health or emotional distress occurs, leading to devastating and possibly entirely unintended consequences; i.e. a murder-suicide, and in this sad case, an alleged Familicide, an incomprehensible trauma is unleashed upon those who are left behind – the family, the friends, the colleagues, the neighbours, the local community and indeed the entire country at large.

  As soon as it was catapulted into the news headlines, the unimaginable tragedy that occurred in the Hawe home, and the complexity of the act, left each and every one of us, possibly parents and grandparents most especially, grappling with the appropriate vocabulary to describe our feelings, our disbelief and our sense of utter sadness. While for both the Hawe and the Coll families, I’d imagine their lingering question will always be…“Why?”

  It’s also true that when such horrendous tragedies occur, feelings of anger are bound to surface because, while Familicide is often linked to mental health concerns, the fact remains that those three beautiful boys and their adoring mother had a right to life…they did not deserve to die.

  When Women’s Aid Director Margaret Martin raised her red flag in the aftermath of the Hawe family deaths, questioning the way in which such violent acts lead society to look at mental health issues as a cause, even, according to Ms. Martin to “speak about it being a crime of passion, despair, or even love,” I agreed with her – personally feeling that these flowery descriptions were actually miscategorising the horrendous crime perpetrated against these children and their mother…who again, I will say, had a right to life. 

  Passing off this (and I am so sorry readers, but I have to call it what it is)…slaughter, as a mental illness simply, in my humble opinion, pulls the focus away from this tragedy, clouding and somehow softening the insurmountable cataclysmic devastation and distress that befell the Hawes when Alan, allegedly (because we don’t know what exactly happened), took the decision to kill his family; and society then took it upon itself to make comment regarding his possible motivation for arriving at the tortuous juncture of murder, child-killing and then suicide.

  As the #hernamewasClodagh is trending on social media, we are reminded that a man can (allegedly) kill his entire family, yet some are more concerned with focusing on the perpetrator and his motivation rather than on his innocent victims. ‘He’ was a good man. ‘He’ was a great teacher. ‘He’ was the ‘go to’ guy! And I am sure he was. I am sure ‘He’ was a wonderful son, brother, husband, dad, friend, colleague, neighbour and teacher, who must not be demonised… but ‘He’ it appears, was also struggling with some very dark thoughts and conflictions…sure why else would ‘He’ have allegedly carried out such a brutal act?

  Tragedies like the one that befall the entire Hawe family are just too unbearable to contemplate, and, while they are mercifully rare, the events of last week clearly show us that medical practitioners, aided by our health system, need to be specifically trained and given the necessary resources to help them to identify those at risk of committing such crimes in order to aid prevention before sadly, that rarity becomes what it is now threatening to do… an emerging trend.

  I hope the authorities and those left behind, manage to truly get to the heart of what happened to the beautiful Hawe family and that the souls of Alan, Clodagh and their innocent little angels Liam, Niall and Ryan all rest in peace.

When in town, don’t wear brown!

If you want to kill your career in the financial sector before it even begins lads, my advice is never mix and match a pair of brown brogues with a well cut suit. Well, according to a piece of research issued by the Social Mobility Commission…(never heard of them either) – I think it’s some UK government watchdog – those blue blood, stiff upper-lipped city folk brokers wouldn’t be seen decomposing in a pair of brown shoes and are now giving the thumbs down to us tatty jeans and t-shirt wearing rebels. 

  Now okay, while the pretence that appropriate dress codes have anything to do with abilities seems a tad draconian, I do have to say that I’m biased, thinking a well-tailored suit, on either a man or a woman can look pin-sharp! So, even though those colourful tattoos tell the story of your life and that frayed shirt showcases your eclectic individuality, my advice to readers who’re heading for a job interview this week is to leave the colourful flip flops at home…unless of course you’re the Dalai Lama, in which case, go for it! 

I’m “Thrilled” for Lisa!

TV3’s Xpose was in desperate need of a revamp; and, in a bid to shake up the show, which I have to say I do actually enjoy, Peter O’Riordan, Lisa Cannon and Aisling O’Loughlin have been axed, leaving us with three non-blondes and er, a non-brunette as presenters. 

  And while Lisa Cannon, right,  has said she’s “delighted,” nay, “genuinely delighted,” because she’s been doing our heads in…sorry, “doing Xpose for ten years,” and she “didn’t want to be pigeon holed into entertainment,” any longer, she may be surprised to know that what she was doing couldn’t really be classed as entertainment, now could it? I mean, a talented 5-year-old could read instructions from an autocue, darling. But hey, the lovely Lisa is “thrilled;” Yep, “thrilled. It’s a new chapter,” for her because someone at Ballymount is going to let this Cannon loose on a weekend slot, where she can “get to do a lot of different presentation skills,” which is painful news for anyone up that early suffering the effects of a hangover. 

  Well Lisa lovey, I wish you the best of luck in your new venture and let me just say that it’s an awful pity the big-wigs didn’t devise a revamp years ago and move you to a wilderness slot because it would have meant that the pair of us would have been “thrilled” and “delighted” so much sooner.