Rest in peace, invisible woman

Five people die in Cavan, and in the days to come, Irish newspapers are full of questions. “Why did he do it?” asks one national daily, picturing a man and his three sons. “How could he kill those poor boys?” asks another.

It is almost immediately clear that the father, Mr Hawe, has stabbed the other four to death: the mother and the three sons. He has then killed himself. And in search for answers, we are told what an honourable man the murderer was: “a valuable member of the community”, “very committed” and “the most normal person you could meet”. Soon follow the calls for increased funding of mental health services.

Two days have passed since the tragic news broke, and today the Irish Times ran a front page reading “Wonderful children who will be missed by all who knew them”. “Killed in their pyjamas by father in frenzied attack,” goes one Independent headline alongside a photo of the boys. It is almost as if we’ve already forgotten: they were a family of five. Rest in peace, invisible mother.

The picture of the man who killed her, however, is becoming more multi-faceted by the day. Mr Hawe was “quiet and a real gentleman”, says one representative of the local council. His brother goes on to talk about his big passion, handball: he’d “won a number of titles”, “played from about eight years of age” and used to play “with his brother and his cousin”. A neighbour offers more praise: “He was the sole person who would do anything for anybody at any time of day or night. He was very obliging.”

It makes sense to draw the conclusion that the man must have been carrying some very dark, difficult secrets, that he must have been mentally tortured somehow. Why else would such a lovely man kill his wife and children before taking his own life? (There’s a study in here somewhere, comparing the reporting of events like this with the discourse surrounding abortion and mental health, with women being labelled murderers for ending pregnancies, stopping the growth of sometimes near-invisible clumps of cells, regardless how mentally tortured or suicidal they are.) But while a note found at the house suggests that Mr Hawe had been in “a vulnerable state of mind” at the time of the murders – and while I wholeheartedly agree with calls to end the stigma around mental illness – there is a different and important narrative for framing these events.

We hear about tragic killings like these every now and then. Nine times out of ten (I don’t have statistics, but my hunch is that the figure is far higher), the perpetrator is a man. Lots of people, men and women and non-binary people, struggle with mental illness, but it takes more than mental torture to brutally murder your own children. There is a patriarchal narrative that runs through this entire story, from the act itself to the reporting of it, and we need to allow ourselves to see it if we are to find a way to prevent similar events from happening again.

As Paul Gilligan of St. Patrick’s University Hopsital points out, killing a child requires a certain view of children, an idea that they must be controlled and managed and, in the case of murder suicides, that they cannot go on to live without the murderer. This ideal of control is part of the same patriarchal worldview that refuses to label domestic violence for what it is; that insists on publishing praise for a man who has just brutally murdered his wife and three children; that almost entirely omits the one woman from the story.

“Killed in their pyjamas by father in frenzied attack – before mother-in-law found note,” reads another headline. The narrative, of course, is from the viewpoint of the murderer: she was his mother-in-law. She was the children’s grandmother, the murdered woman’s mother. The murdered woman, then, is most often referred to as the murderer’s wife – relevant only as what she is in relation to the man who killed her. Her name is Clodagh.

A man murders four people in Cavan, and we are fed questions and statements of disbelief alongside praise of the murderer as a community man. On the front pages, we see the man and the three children he murdered. Two days in, Clodagh has all but become invisible. And you ask why feminists are so loud and angry?


    • I think your words make a lot of sense. When i heard it first, i did not condem and still don’t. I am shocked and have no answers, because i know nothing and therefore I have no right to say anything. Five lives are gone and we should think of all of them.

    • Such an honest and perceptive article. Words of Kahlil Gibran come to mind. Will post them on Facebook. Understand that the man may have been tortured but why kill four other souls to ease his pain? Horror!!!

    • Heartbreaking indeed Tara, and sadly happens too often. The fact is that lovely men who adored their families don’t murder them. The same thing happened in Australia last year. He also killed his wife and children, and was praised by the community, while the murdered woman was seen to be a ‘bother’ as she’d suffered brain damage via a car accident. Thing is, lots of women carry the same workload but don’t murder their families. Just part of victim blaming that must stop!

    • #clodaghonourmimd

      Clodagh Hawe will be buried tomorrow with her three sons and the husband who killed them and took his own life.

      I wrote 10 stories on the tragedy between Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon while working in Cavan.

      My intention was to gather as much information as possible and relay it to the readers of the Irish Mirror as sensitively as possibly. Many details were not included.

      However now the Irish mediA has been accused of rendering Clodagh Hawe invisible due to scant information about her, and limited images available of her.

      I challenge anyone to say the Irish Mirror copy is skewed regarding the visibility of Clodagh Hawe.

      I have written to Linnea Dunne who has tarred all Irish media with one brush and Roy Greenslade who repeated her claims, calling for debate.

      Here’s what I said.

      I am Jilly Beattie and work for the Mirror and the Irish Mirror.

      It appears that Linnea Dunne has lumped the entire Irish media into one and accused us all of effectively ignoring Clodagh.

      Do I presume she read my copy in the Irish Mirror and ignored it? Or did she miss it?

      I would remind her that every reporter is an individual and my Mirror colleagues and I take exception to being accused of ignoring murder victim Clodagh in this matter.

      I travelled from my office in Belfast to cover this story and found a very shocked community who believed they had lost a true gentleman in Alan Hawe.

      I do not feel the reality of this situation has sunk in, the reality of what Alan Hawe did.

      In fact they had nothing else to say about Alan Hawe – they genuinely appeared to know only the person he presented to them.

      Of course the problem they have, is that if the perfect Mr Hawe could be evil and murder in cold blood, then what hope is there for the rest out?

      As for Clodagh, there were until 5pm today, still only two publicly accessible images of her. How unusual is that of a 39-year-old in 2016?

      She was not made invisible because of how my paper I treated the story of her death but because of the person she presented to the outside world for whatever reason, and because of the lack of information forthcoming about her except for her love for her children, pupils and her home.

      Clodagh Hawe appears to have been an ordinary woman, a professional in work and a mother focused on her family at home.

      She was not involved in a lot of parties etc. Her friends have remained all but silent in regard to the media and only her sister has spoken briefly of the tragedy – and referred mostly to Alan.

      Perhaps it is society that renders women like Clodagh invisible to the outside world. She was certainly not invisible to her family and her group of friends.

      It is my opinion, and only speculation, that this invisibility of Clodagh Hawe that Linnea Dunne speaks of may have come about as a result of her relationship with Alan Hawe.

      We will never know if this is fact, and indeed if it is, was it due to an agreement between the couple or coercion by one or other.

      Described to me as a background man and Mr Average, Alan Hawe, was apparently a typical No2 personality in public. It may well be that he was No1 personality inside the home. His grieving mother-in- law has credited him with getting her family through some very tough times.

      If that positioning in the home is a choice made by both parties, who is the media to question it? And who is Linnea to demand it be different?

      Linnea is asking the media to present facts about Clodagh Hawe that have not been gleaned and may never be available.

      How would she feel if we insisted on approaching the grieving relatives and friends to satisfy her demands on information about Clodagh?

      Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

      Slating the entire media industry in Ireland in the most general terms and not responding to responses is an odd approach at best.

      My colleagues at the Mirror and Irish Mirror take exception to being included as journalists accused of having an intention to make Clodagh Hawe invisible.

      Every decent journalist will know the huge efforts put in to gather the images, the truth and tributes about this poor woman murdered with her children by the person who should by rights, have done everything in his power to protect them.


      • Hi Jilly,

        Thanks for your comment.

        Firstly, this is the first time I read your message. It’s been a crazy few days for me and I’m only getting around to going through comments now. From a few hours after sharing the article, I got hundreds of messages every ten minutes – and I was away travelling. I expected none of this, and it’s true that I’ve been beyond poor at responding to people!

        I think you’ve misinterpreted some of what I’ve tried to argue, but I’ve also heard some of your criticisms a good few times, mainly from tabloid journalists who want to defend themselves. Note that I’m not criticising any one journalist or saying that journalists deliberately went out to try to erase the memory of Clodagh. I still think journalists – and editors more so – have a responsibility in terms of the questions they ask and the bigger picture they paint. I’ll be responding to these criticisms bit by bit over the next few days but simply don’t have time to get into each point right now. I’ll do my best to respond properly in due course though.

        Thanks again for taking the time to write.

        • At the end of the day, a tragedy happened. As a member of the public, i can say, it was only reported about him. The murderer. Terrible tragedy about a “nice guy”. Doesnt sit right with me.

      • I don’t have many pictures of myself because I just don’t like having my photo taken & also keep myself to myself, does that mean if I’m murdered in the morning alongside my children (god forbid) I should become invisible or questionable for my life been taken????

      • I’m not feeling sorry for your profession. This comes across as blaming the victim for not being more visible on social media and that makes no sense in a world where we are constantly being told of how dangerous it is to have a high social media profile. I’m sure if the media approached Clodagh’s friends and family for their memories of her in the same way as they approached her murderer’s friends and family they would have received the same quality of information about her. Obviously they have failed to do so out of their own lack of interest.

      • Challenge accepted. I agree with Linnea and would be far less restrained. I’ve read your copy, and most of it focused on how wonderful the killer was. It makes me sick. “They lost a true gentleman”. Even in this forum, this ‘perpetrator as hero’ theme should not be the first thing you mention.

        You render victims invisible not because of a lack of information, but because of the way you frame the discussion.

        Obviously Alan did not present as a murderer, but he was. SAY something about that. QUESTION how we might identify family violence in future. “Who is the media to question..?” Seriously?

        “Perhaps society…” Media is not separate from society, it is the public face of it, and a responsible media would be concerned with the betterment of society and protection of women (and men) and children from violence.

        There are always signs, if people choose to see them, find them, and report them. Awareness is what needs to happen right now, as part of this story. No photos, no parties = red flags worthy of reporting on!

        “If we insisted on approaching the grieving relatives…” Didn’t you? How do people feel about saying no to an abuser? Or confronting a murderer to prevent further deaths? Sometimes difficult conversations need to be had, but it requires bravery and honesty to be part of a positive change.

        You don’t want to be slated in general terms. You mean like: “an ordinary woman, a professional in work and a mother focused on her family at home”?

        Take exception if you will, create exceptional copy if you could. The individual reporter who gets the story right will be lauded here for all to see.

  • While I haven’t followed this story too closely it just struck me that this is the first time I’ve seen (or at least registered) the murdered woman’s name.

  • God bless Clodagh I believe she was a saint, as will be ever in my head. Was she killed 1st or lastly whatever way it was God bless her & her children. God is good. But hard to believe these things could happen. Marian

    • God is good? What on earth is the ‘good’ part of this? Wake up Marian, there was no ‘God’ in this vile incident.

    • GOD IS GOOD??? How can you even think that??? A god that alows that this crazy person kills for innocent people is nothing then an utter bestard!

    • I believe Clodagh wold have been killed first, otherwise she would have tried to stop him killing her sons in which case she would have been upstairs too.

    • It’s not God’s fault that people do bad things. God gives us free will. Would you rather be forced against your will to do things you would not have otherwise opted to do? Choice is better.

      Don’t blame God for what malicious people do. Blame the evil-doers. They had their free will – their choice – to do what is right or what is wrong, and they chose wrong. Don’t use God as a scapegoat for what they did. (And don’t condemn the possibility of God’s existence for it.) Hold the criminal monster accountable for what he is done.

      A thought-provoking piece. Thank you Linnea.

    • Thanks for putting my thoughts in print. I read the dreadful headlines the other day but no where could I find the name of the Mum. Thanks for making her real for giving her a voice.

    • Me too. Thank you Linnea for expressing so well, my instinctive thoughts on this awful tragedy. And thanks to The Guardian for bringing my attention to it.

    • As those of us who have experienced DV and the system, we know the mother is always blamed for His violence.
      I can hear the people ” well, if she only did as she was told, this would not have happened”…so its all Eve ill Eve’s fault.
      Ireland has judges who order abused mothers and children back to obey the perpetrators.
      Because it all happens in old Inquisition secret courts, no one gets to know.
      Gagging orders are handy to silence victims.
      This mother would have know the consequences of taking the abuser to court- she would have lost the children- as is the usual pattern if a mother reports violence and abuse.
      She would know from us older sisters- who know the truth.
      In Irish law all mothers are deemed feeble minded- before they even go to court…but citizens are not supposed to know that.
      If children report violence against the father- they also get punished and silenced- even the use of Electricc Shock Therapy to burn out memories of violence and abuse- so the children can be placed with these wonderful fathers.
      I have heard judges order mothers to only speak good of the husband/father who left them for dead.
      No one would believe what it is like here, unless you get into the system- and then its all in Inquisition – in secret and so the mothers cannot speak out or be jailed.
      The UN is aware and there is one case there at the moment.

      EU is aware,,,,, but Ireland refused to give any time to this brave woman who spoke out in Vienna.

      She went to Dublin for the conference to be told that “they” were not allowed to show the video or say she was present.

      So Ireland covers up still in 2016.

      The Irish mother who was left for dead and then became the DV voice of EU…..but Ireland swept her under the carpet.
      As the Irish judge said ” she was too powerful for a woman in Roman Catholic Ireland and should go home and obey her violent husband and teach the children to obey, obey, obey.

      It is explained the large numbers of women who do not report DV or come foreward…..and i know why.

      I have said for years ” Only dead DV victims are listened to” and now even in death- its all about the poor Adam murderer.
      Thank you for this article.

      It is read all over the world – by experts who have been watching Ireland since I brought the issue to light 10 years ago.

      • I think every woman in Ireland should put up a photo of Clodagh and write we will always remember Clodagh. RIP

  • It is always the same the poor family .mother and 3 children murdered by a man who must have premeditated what and how he was going to do this ..murderer first not father .sorry

  • Well said, Linnea. It’s infuriating to see how Clodagh and her devastated, traumatised mother have been relegated to footnote status.

  • When a woman is assaulted or raped all to often the questions asked seek to shift the blame on her. In the US there have been several rapists who have recently gone free because the judge felt prison would impact their lives negatively. No matter that the victims will never forget what they suffered and are, in essence, serving a life sentence. Boys will be boys. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

  • So glad someone voiced this. I’ve been totally baffled as to why the media have been actually singing the praises of a brutal murderer. I have no doubt that if this had been the female in the relationship that carried out the attack that the headline would read “Crazed Wife Murders Children and Husband in Jealous Attack” or something equally as negative as assumptive… I think the worst thing I’ve seen is a paper calling it “frenzied.”
    He’s being painted as this upstanding member of the community who, unfortunately, just couldn’t hold it together in the face of deep depression. Yet I’m sure if he were anything other than a middle aged, middle-class, white male he would have been dubbed a whole host of negative adjectives before his name. It’s so hard not to get angry, loud and upset by things like this as everyone just consumes the story at one level without realising this is nothing more than a ruthless and barbaric murder carried out in a premeditated manner in a truly horrendous example of domestic violence. I don’t even think I’ve seen the phrase ‘domestic violence’ used once? How entirely heartbreaking. #HerNameWasClodagh

  • Hey,
    My mother was friends with Clodagh, thanks for pointing out that we’re giving air time only to the attacker and not the victim. It is insane the level of rubbernecking and “analysis” that is being devoted to talking about the father rather than the family as a whole.

  • I’m writing from the United States of America and this is all too often the discourse here, and unfortunately world-wide. It’s as if the poor innocent children didn’t deserve the heinousness of the murder, but the wife had it coming to her? In almost every famous rape case, the rapist is made out to be a fallen hero (see the recent Stanford rape case), while the victim is assumed to, even blatantly blamed, for the assault by media and widespread public commentary. It makes me sick. Thank you for writing.

  • I agree with everything that you said. My husband took his own life and before he did I had a gun put to my head by him. Our doctor told my dad that he was lucky that he was only mourning 1 person instead of 4. My heart goes out to the family that are left to cope with this.

  • Excellent article,,let all Mothers and Mothers to be remember Clodagh,,whose life and those of her innocent boys was taken away all too soon. RIP, Clodagh and your Boys.

    • Oliver, could I screenshot your comment/link for twitter? Do you have an @ there to credit you? Thanks, Shauna

  • I live in Italy where killing female members of your family is disturbingly common.(Keeping in mind that the population of Italy massive:almost 60million.) Its recurrance in domestic media has led to a slight change in how these crimes are presented :victims of the men in their lives. Femminicidio or in English ‘Femicide’. They are granted their own identity in the media as the helpless victim of circumstances.

  • Couldn’t agree more. Every time I read of some woman’s children murdered by her x my blood runs cold. My x was so angry when I left him. He hated me more than he loved the children and there is no acknowledgement that this is a ‘thing’ that this is a very real danger when you leave an angry controlling man. I had people disapproving of the fact that I’d left the children’s father. If I’d tried to obstruct him from seeing them altogether I would have been condemned, and I would have left myself open to looking unco-operative in court later on.

      • I read this in a state of shock!! Thank you for that!! I had seen the tragic news a few times on tv and apart from the usual reactions we all tend to experience at such times, I didn’t give any deep thought to how and what had actually taken place!
        Now that i am more aware of the circumstances I feel that this was to punish the wife! DOMESTIC VIOLENCE in other words!!
        My thoughts that he murdered those children with the poor mother looking on is tormenting me …. Please God she was spared this but it now comes across as a revenge attack on Clodagh (thanks to this amazing piece of reporting)!
        NB. I had personal experience of domestic violence for 16 yrs by a “pillar of the community” and escaped being murdered many times by the Grace of God!
        The most sinister significant thoughts behind my x husbands cruelty were uttered when one day I told him that some day he would hurt me for all to see! He calmly replied “Don’t worry I won’t hurt you for that to happen!!” In other words he KNEW what he did and was careful nothing showed eg thumping me on my head with his big fist …. Etc!

      • Well done. Great thoughtful piece. Certainly opened my eyes. I didn’t even know Clodagh was the Mum’s name. Will watch out for this type of reporting in the future. Again “well done”.

      • Linnea this is such a well written piece and you have given poor Clodagh the recognition she deserves when the media have gone completely mad. Thanks. X

    • This was and still is a very real fear for me. Every time I send my little one to my angry, controlling ex who suffers from depression and read about these murders happening I feel the anxiety and panic welling up inside of me. But I’m at his mercy and he’s rights to see her. God help us all, it is a heinous thing. May you RIP Clodagh and your beautiful children.

    • I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you. I, unfortunately, completely understand it.
      Very often these actions are from pure anger – but labelled a mental health issue. Totally unfair on people with actual MH issues in my opinion. I think that your line that “he hated you more than he loved his children” is very interesting. I believe a lot of women would relate to this.
      Thought provoking piece of journalism, sadly all too lacking not just in this tragedy but across the board. Well done Linnea.

    • Your point about your Ex hating you more than he loved his children chills me to the marrow. It chimes so strongly with what I have seen, and heard in the experiences of others. I hope you and your children are now in a safer happier place in your lives.

      Thank you Linnea for writing this blog, and calling this what it is.

    • I love this article and I love all the comments everyone is making. Thank you all so much for sharing. I too have a situation whereby I left my daughter’s father and, simirlarly to you, his hate for me is actually stronger than his love for her! It’s very skewed and disturbing that the hate can prevail and the love is secondary!

    • Can identify with your situation and the fear as a result of anger bordering on hatred as I left him and got out with my child….its still very much present and I often worry about it when my child is with him. The sense of entitlement some of these guys have, is disturbing to say the least. You are damned if you do and damned if you dont. I have limited the access as a result of his behaviour towards our child however its a constant theme….needing to be seen to be fair and playing the game for court etc and going against what I feel is right and safe. You stop access and you are damned….you dont and they act up with your child or you and you both suffer…..not enough focus in family courts on mental health issues and the impact, not to mention proper assessment ….not enough known among judiciary about manipulative controlling behaviours often resulting from personality disorders e.g. narcissism and the appalling damage psychological abuse can cause….what is in place in the courts is used by some people as a stick to further abuse spouses and cause distress…by demanding evaluations…and its often the case that those who demand evaluations are the very ones that require the evaluation or assessment most…its also very difficult to prove psychological abuse, controlling behaviour, manipulation and add to that a person who has charm and seemingly is the salt of the earth….its an uphill battle and the onus is on the survivor to provide evidence …look for a protection or barring order now and current trends point to the perpetrator doing so before the survivor does or simultaneously and getting them…..tbh I think that the family courts are not equipped to deal with the myriad of issues and situations that present here in Ireland …..

    • Something seriously wrong with that man to do such a thing, appears like a very personal attack, did he want to hurt his wife? the best way to do that was to kill the children, her and himself. How did he kill himself with a knife/hatchet?? Very sad and gruesome.

  • Thank you so much for this. I could cry with the frustration of it all! This is exactly how it looks, and feels. Clodagh is forgotten. The murderer is almost excused because of his good standing. “Well he must have flipped and had a mental break.” I’ve heard it, read it and absorbed it. It becomes just an awful thing that happened. It becomes almost accepted that this good man just lost it. Where is Clodagh in all this? Where is the loss for the horrible ordeal she went through. The horror that the man she trusted the most betrayed her so awfully. Where is the comments about how wonderful she was? Where is her story? So well written.

  • I feel its too soon almost to comment. However, on rte last night a bishop also never mentioned her: RTE 6 one news, unless they cut his piece,

    This omision/ phenomenon was noted by my brother after a similar event in Westmeath about 7/8 years ago. At that time also, he noted, people and media said “why did he have to kill the kids”. He found this shocking.

  • I am so glad someone wrote this. I have found coverage of these murders and previous similar murders to be difficult to read. There is no excuse for anyone taking another life. Most people who gave mental illnesses do not murder their partner and children. It is the ultimate act of control over others and is the ultimate abusive behaviour.

  • Thank you for writing this, I thought I was imaging the media erasing a mother and focusing on a cold hearted killer. Thank you!

    • Thank you for posting this. I was struck by a point in the original piece about mothers committing this crime too (to a far lesser degree) and my immediate reaction was “but they don’t tend to murder the husband/father too” which the article confirms.
      I’m also mindful of the occasions when a mother has murdered a child who was struggling with chronic illness or disability before ending her own life – a very different situation to Clodagh’s family.

    • Máire, I understand you are trying to show a sense of balance but the study reported in the Irish Examiner was of 19 perpetrators. You cannot now state that 21% of these types of murders are committed by females. The sample too small. Overall, men are the killers and Linnea is right to point out the patriarchal nature of these types of murders.

    • In the cases reviewed, the women killed their children and themselves. The men killed the children, then some of those men went on to kill their spouse, their parents, friends, sometimes whole families before they finally killed themselves.
      Not one of those women killed their spouse. And in those cases, the focus was on what was wrong with them and how tragic it was for the spouse and/or father to lose their children. The male spouse doesn’t just disappear.

  • Please tell us more about Clodagh. She is first of all a woman, a teacher, some mother’s daughter whom I’m sure is totally distraught. She was active no doubt until she breathed her last. I would prefer you tell me more about this lady than to go on a feminist rant and use her to further your own subjective viewpoint of society.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Lilly. I can’t tell you more about Clodagh, I’m afraid, as I didn’t personally know her and media won’t report her story. My article is about media narratives, and in my view feminism has everything to do with that.

      • Well done for writing this piece,i agree completely and couldn’t have said it better myself.i have not heard clodaghas name mentioned once in any reports and she being the first victim in this.may they all rest in peace and the family’s find some closer to this awful episode in there lives and greive there loss in the privacy they deserve,god bless the survivors x

      • Maybe you should have done some more about who Clodagh was. Why would you make this terrible tragedy into some femanest rant. why did you not take the time to research Clodagh. The people of Oristown know her name and remember her. Those of us who were lucky enough to have come to know her will remember. A fantastic teacher and person, warm kind helpful and caring. loved her job and students. They equally loved her. my son was one of those students. We sat together on the couch and watched the news Monday evening not knowing who it was. Minutes later we got a call. I had to tell him the news. Maybe the next story you write will be Clodagh’s.

      • Thank you Linnea – you said exactly what soo many were thinking. I am sick reading about what an amazing Father/man he was. In my mind if he was alive he would have been charged with 4 murders and nobody would be having discussions about Mental disorders. Too shocked to feel sympathy for him. Too premeditated. Clodagh and her beautiful boys died needlessly at the hands of a man who sat and wrote a letter. How organised was that!!!!

      • Thank you so much for writing this wonderful article Linnea Dunne. I totally agree with you. I read of this horrendous nightmare on Tuesday last, & I was struck by the praise heaped on this mass murderer. Clodagh was also a school teacher, but her skills & talents were not mentioned in the newspaper I read, or on the news on TV! It struck me as odd, but I’m glad you picked up on it & wrote this excellent article! RIP #Clodagh Sharing.

      • Feminism liberates men not women. Mr Hawe a high achiever and competitive individual failed to maintain a balance due to being unable to co operate. Marriage and relationships are about co operation not competion. Clodagh was the real winner like most mothers sadly it cost her with her life. He now controlls his mother in law forever. Calculated gruesome attack because he felt he was not winning.God have mercy. He set him mad before He took him. Anger management and self control of ones thoughts and attitudes. 1916 paved the way for Irish men to do exactly what the Brittish were fought for, control of women and property.

      • Why not find out her story since you feel so strongly about this. You are a journalist. I agree her story and her life are now so much more important than his. She carried, bore and raised these children. Would like to know more about her life and not interested in him or his family or hearing about his upstanding nature and what a pillar of the community he was. You’d swear he was killed by her the way the story is reported.

      • Well said. This is such a well written, excellent article. It is not rant, instead it holds a powerful spotlight onto an important point.

      • Fair and objective article written with compassion and eloquence, apt , Clodagh needs a voice , thank you for such a fine one .

    • Sadly I wish it purely was a subjective viewpoint, but the statistics are there. Office of National Statistics 2015: 2 women a week killed by their partner (or ex); one killed every three days; 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence. This is a symptom of a patriarchal society in which femicide is normalised and the reporting of victims of femicide deemed un-newsworthy.

    • Do you realise that the point being made in this post is precisely that the media are not talking about this woman? That she has been made invisible because society tends to ignore women? Wanting to know more about Clodagh is exactly what this post is about.

    • It is so disheartening and depressing to read of a woman using such hostile language in response to a balanced and well-written piece on the tragic events in Cavan. I do not view this piece as “a rant” of any sort. If it is “feminist” I fail to see how you would take offence when feminism equates to human rights for women. I also think that you have failed totally to understand what feature journalism is about – it is precisely to present a viewpoint, one which if done skilfully, stimulates healthy discussion and not the opprobrium of an anti-feminist.

    • Oh for goodness sake Lilly. You probably wouldnt know much about Clodagh if this awareness raising piece hadn’t been written. The very title tells us that the media reporting was all about the man. Feminism is exactly what this is about. That is a GOOD thing as the focus has all been on the man. I am very glad to read this excellent piece of writing and feel sad about your judgement of it.

    • Perhaps you can reach out to mainstream media to ask for more information about Clodagh, who is truly forgotten in this tragedy. After all, it is they, not the author of this piece who have minimised the existence and experiences of Clodagh as a victim. Maybe you can take a second then to consider your ill informed comments about feminists rants, given that the author is herself highlighting that Clodah is yet another woman who’s story is ignored within a patriarchal society. If anything was deserving of a ‘feminist rant’ it is this tragedy and how it is perceived and conveyed to the wider public, as you’ve so easily pointed out in your contradictory statement.

  • Make Clodagh visible….. I realize he was mentally ill….but he was ill….not a hero….newspaper reporting is so wrong especially the Independent ….they should be ashamed…..

  • Eloquently put! Every single thing I’ve read so far only focuses on his contribution to society, school, community etc.
    #HerNameWasClodagh and she is not invisible – but may she haunt the establishment that does next to nothing for those who need help.

  • A very worthwhile article. Thank God this has been hi lighted, and the control element is a very important point to have been mentioned. Well done.

  • I agree with almost everything you said in this piece..but you had to go & ruin it with the mention of abortion and the referral to early human life often called an embryo or fetus depending on its stage of development and comparing “stopping the growth of sometimes near-invisible clumps of cells” with this storey. How dare you refer to early human life in this were once this near-invisible clumps of cells as was all humans that walk and have walked the planet and your total disregard to their importance at this stage of development just shows your complete ignorance..there was no need for this in your article.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Gail. If you read some of the other posts on my blog, you’ll see that I am unequivocally pro-choice and in fact had an abortion myself. This isn’t a debate I’m happy to take in the comments field of this specific post though; I doubt we’ll get very far.

      • Finally! From start to finish, not a single misplaced sentence. I would however add one. Murder is not a mental illness, it is a serious crime. Men who “lose it” in serious arguments do not murder, they might shout or get angry.

      • And there is the problem. You whine that women are invisible, yet you are callous and unfeeling about murdering children in the womb. Hard to take you seriously when you are so self-centred.

    • I have just had to read through all the above comments, to finally find a mention of the unborn. Thank you for your well-written comment, and you are absolutely right – yours are the words I was going to write myself: an aborted unborn child is NEVER a clump of cells. You are also right when you say that everything in the piece, though admirable in its references to male patriarchy, is ruined by comparisons with termination of the human embryo or foetus…

    • I agree with Gail. Abortion didn’t need to be brought into this otherwise brilliant article. The reference to ‘a clump of cells’ is too a lot of people their baby. Women test for pregnancy about 4 or 5 times and this clump of cells show up as the woman being pregnant. Most women are happy with this outcome. What about us who couldn’t have children naturally. I wish each month I could’ve seen this ‘clump of cells.’ That was a hurtful remark. On the other hand the rest of your article was brilliant. I am glad you brought this to our attention. For a mother to just have disappeared of the radar like that is shameless but not surprising of our media and press.

    • Well said & not a time for political points but a time to reflect on the actual slaughter itself. There must be many who were aware of the problems that caused this tragedy. Irish society is too used to non stop murder on a daily basis with no insight or solution ever offered. In due course the dead of Cavan will be forgotten along with the victims of Dublin’s gangland feud. Everyone has the right to a natural death with nobody playing God. An alarming aspect of the Hawe victims was the graphic photos of the five coffins being removed showing no respect. The media must give some privacy as well as keep people well clear of any murder scene.

    • No! Linnea is not the ignorant one here, you are! We all started life in the womb, ( those of us that survived) as ” clumps of cells” it’s not a myth, or an insult, it’s a scientific fact!

  • I have seen many pictures of Clodagh. What happened to her and their children is appalling. I do not see the unfolding of tho story as being told from a male perspective only. However, our fascination, our confusion, our despair is focused on the perpetrator of tho horrific crime. We try vainly to understand. We want to make sense of him. Clodagh was not the crazy killer. She was a victim of another’s insanity. His gender is, to me at any rate, immaterial.

    • I agree with you completely. We, struggle always to “make sense” of something that to us as a civilised society is abhorrent. So our fear wants us to reach an understanding that we can somehow ease the dissonance. It allows us to have hope for life in general.
      Just my opinion of course.
      Everyone is a victim of such a tragedy. Male or Female.

    • Where have you seen them? I find it very hard when googling her to see decipher which one is actually her. There’s a blond lady and a dark haired lady and only two images of both?

    • Hi gender is not immaterial in the context of the Violence Against Women and Girls agenda. His presumed insanity may not have been the whole issue here and it is important that we hear the womans voice or at least make attempts to hear it – at the moment all we are hearing is about the man. The perpetrator. This is how it goes in papers all the time.

  • Wonderful piece. Its incredible but I, a grown woman, didn’t even question WHY NO MENTION OF CLODAGH???? Thank you for reminding and refocusing my tired mind Linnea.

  • No matter how ill he was it takes some sort of evil mind to carry out the slaughter of your own wife never mind your own children as well we need to give this innocent woman a face a name and a voice and stop praising a multi murderer

    • It is an insult to the mentally for the press to continually say that this man was mentally ill. A psychologist has been quoted as saying that this is the ultimate in domestic violence.That this man was angry and controlling.As someone said,if it happened in a working class family he would have been daubed a monster,not a decent fellow who “lost it” this one time.

  • No truer words have been written. I totally agree with every aspect of your article. The editors and writers must take responsibility for how these senseless murders has been reported and indeed the photographs splashed across the front pages for the young children’s school friends to see. The images of the family if needed to be published should have been inside the newspapers.

    • I hear you all. As above. But I also get why the reporting around the husband has been such. He was perceived in these positive ways and it’s important to remember this. In the remembering questions can be asked ? How was he perceived such yet capable of this ? Where were the signs and clues ? It s not trying to make a saint if him it’s asking how could this happen when seemingly there were no signs ? It s not about forgetting Clodagh.

  • Congratulations on a wonderful article, I wholeheartedly agree that we are led to lose sight of the poor unfortunate woman/wife in trying to understand why these men take their partner’s and children’s lives – pure selfishness and evil I say.

  • You have just put into words how I felt about the reporting of this case. What must she have gone through. Did she try to safe them. . I can’t imagine what it must have been like fir the boys and their mum to realise that their dad was intact a monster.

  • As a mother of two kids in their twenties on can’t imagine doing this to three young children. I presume it’s mainly males that would do this? What a tortured sole he must have been. I think especially in Ireland there’s a stigma attached to a male who suffers depression and not enough help is given to them. I hope however tragic this is that,more awareness will be made and help given to men in particular. My parents live close to them. It’s hard in rural areas to seek help. The one thing that I find hard to come to terms with is the fact he used a knife a slow and agonising death in which order did he do it? But to kill ones own children beggars belief.

    • You have just done the very thing the article is trying to highlight. … completely ignore the mother that was murdered!

    • You’re just as bad with your “what a tortured soul he must have been”. You then go on about his depression and men and men in rural areas. You just don’t get it either. Where is your compassion and concern for Clodagh, why don’t you talk about her and her suffering at the hands of a violent partner? Where are your comments on domestic violence? Where are your comments on men using violence to control a partner?

    • I’m sorry you feel the need to glorify “the poor tortured sole” man and worry so much about the shame of depression, especially of men in Ireland. Mental illness affects so many worldwide and has no gender preference. And it seems as though you really are not interested in the family but “what order they were murdered in,” gossip mongering.

  • I could not agree more. I listened to radio interviews and thought “is there something I am missing, why aren’t they speaking about the mother?”. Thank you for thinking of her poor tragic sole.

  • This piece is an eye opener and much needed reflection on a most heinous of crimes, rarely ( and I say rarely) do you find women killing their healthy young children. How frightened must these children and Clodagh have been. My heart is aching

  • You are absolutely spot on ,,, there was a point on Tuesday that I thought my heart might break , by Wednesday I was fuming mad ,,, I was speechless ..people said mental illness .I said it was a secret that was about to spill 🙁

    Peace love and justice to clodagh her sons she boure in her womb xxx

    Let no more die , to become a statistic 🙁 to prove there is a need , To Stop family inhilation ), it hurts so deep ,to grieve those lost xxx

    • Since this truly awful tragedy happened it’s been difficult to avoid hearing and reading the many comments about what a wonderful, dependable and active man in his community the father of this family was, how much he was respected and looked up to by all who knew him. Of course people, while struggling with their horror and disbelief want to avoid being or saying anything unkind at a time like this. But there has been a notable absence of any similar comment about the mother of this family, and this article made me wonder about that. She too was part of and well known in the community, especially to the families of the children she taught in school. She too lived as a person, a wife, and a mother. What her last moments must have been like doesn’t bear thinking about. There has been hardly a mention of her.
      Her name was Clodagh and my prayer for her is – may you and your three children rest in peace Clodagh.

  • I read all that as well and did wonder why they spoke so well of the killer. I have a ‘ wife’ and 3 children and can’t understand even if your out of your mind how could you even harm them. Clodagh as an Adult didn’t exist. The reporting is always biased against the perpetrator and not the victims. The killer, druggy or alcoholic is always the one that gets the sympathy. I have always said if we were privy to the last moments of life if someone being muredered our views would be totally different. Compassion would be out the door.

  • I agree with you.I was a school principal and in cases of domestic violence the social worker s talked about “the mother”without naming her.These women already have low self esteem and I think that sometimes society actually blames them for the way they are treatedby an abusive partner!These women endure a lot to protect their children and they do not always have the means to leave .They are also fearful of taking that leap into the dark and maybe have nowhere else to go.So sad!

    • Wow! So very well said Ann! You have brought a lump to my throat. Thank you for your enlightening comment.

  • A brilliant piece on such a tragic story..well done .refreshing to see this story put to the public in the manor which it should be.

  • Thank u Linnea. I have been very angry with the media since this murder. All media talk about is mental health. u are the first person I have read about who is open to the theory of power & control within the family. Perhaps we are dealingg with a street angel & house devil! I am also disgusted the murderer is being buried alongside his victims!!

    • Couldn’t agree with you more, this excuse for a human being should not be buried alongside his innocent victims. Those who perpetrate domestic violence are more often than not street angels and house Devils. His note on the door only proves that he had more compassion and consideration for those outside his door than those loved ones within. My heart bleeds not only for what that poor woman and children must have suffered on the day he murdered them but also for what they must have endured in the lead up to their deaths. May those innocent victims rest in peace.

    • I actually can’t believe her family would allow him to be buried in the same plot.
      Taking your own life is bad enough but to destroy your entire family is beyond belief. ..

    • Well said. When a person murders, even, and especially, when the victim is their spouse or child, they should never be buried alongside them. All wrong…

    • Buried alongside them? That’s horrific – it didn’t even occur to me. Maybe the gravestones could declare the truth; let it be written above his head for all time.
      One thing we can be sure of though: he isn’t going on to the same place.

  • You have just become my favorite writer. You were able to articulate what has angered me for years. Thank you for speaking for that poor woman, her family and friends.

  • Good stuff. It takes millions of women to write and not stop writing until the woman’s narrative at least is heard.

  • Very well said and very true what a sad world we live in that the murderer of 4 innocent people can be made into a somewhat ‘hero’ in the press. So very wrong on a number of levels.

  • Yes i fully agree with this account of this terrible tragic event in Cavan. Anyone who.can leave notes had planned this and it takes time to write notes . Lots of people suffer from depression but do not go on to kill their family. We have heard nothing about the mother in all of this. Poor lady RIP.

  • When I saw the photo on newsfeed I thought it was the invisible woman, this is an excellent article but I would reconsider putting your own smiling face on it , the story does not reflect the image unless you were to portray Clodagh at a happier time…

  • Really brilliant piece of writing. I have read it twice and as a man, husband and a father, the article has really made me aware of how Clodagh has been forgotten in this tragic story. Well done, thank you.

  • Feminists are loud and angry because a murdered woman, called Clodagh, didn’t get her picture in the paper and was not referred to by name? Keep fighting the good fight.

  • It’s pretty disgusting for a feminist to use such a tragedy to push her insane “the patriarchy is the cause of everything bad” psychosis, just as bad the nodding head Irish media saying good things about a man who murdered his family. Typically the source of murders like this are prescribed psychotropic drugs like SSRIs which are overprescribed by pharma enthralled GPs.

  • Beautifully put so apt and hits the point vividly and clearly. It’s pure torture to think of the last few minutes of those poor boys and their mothers life. I don’t know anybody who could forgive him or why any man or woman would do that to their partner or children. It’s beyond comprehension. R.I.P

  • How dare you try and make a feminist issue out of this tragedy. Shocking how low some people stoop in “journalism”…

  • Powerful wonderful piece written by you linnea … How inspiring to read the truth ! The world needs more women like you … R I P to Cloada and her three beautiful sons … So tragic how dare he take their lives ?

  • That man is family annihilator. They are almost always men and fit one of a few profiles, according to Wired.

    Self-righteous killers hold the mother responsible for the breakdown of the family; Disappointed killers believe their family has let them down; Anomic killers see the family as a symbol of their own economic success; Paranoid killers are often motivated by a desire to protect their family from a perceived threat.

    In other words, the fathers think of the mother about as much as these journalists and other officials do. Chicken or egg, I ask you?

    Wired link:

  • Its refreshing to see an honest article on this case instead of the old platitudes that are rolled out all the time. Families living with someone with mental health issues have very little supports.

  • You have explained what I was feeling about this only I couldn’t articulate it like you could.
    RIP to Clodagh and her boys

  • I agree with your view on this. I read a newspaper article where the father was described as a ‘fierce family man’ ..yes fierce indeed. This seems to be the final act of an extremely abusive man, these poor children and their mother Clodagh. This mans remains should be dumped at sea. These kind of killers should not get attention or sympathy as I think it sends wrong message out to other abusers. Mental illness does not excuse stabbing three children to death and their mother too, the aggression involved says it all. Mental illness and being an evil abusive person are totally different issues.

  • Excellent article, raising some points I hadn’t even thought of. Particularly about women having terminations and being vilified, yet a man murders his wife and children but he is still ‘the nicest man you could ever meet’.

  • So totally agree with you, how very sad to see those reporters and shame on them for making the boys mother invisible. Very sad all around for all the families.

  • Well written piece, thanks for highlighting out the airbrushing out of poor Clodagh…its bizarre and actually quite insulting to her memory and to the memory of the love she bore for her children and they for her.
    Makes you wonder about the motives of those reporting on this wrenching tragedy, are they really SO insensitive?

  • You have articulated all that I have felt, but couldn’t express. Let us not forget Clodagh…when I bring up the subject I am told not to talk about it, it’s too painful, does anybody else experience this? Let’s keep this conversation going, on and on and on. Anger is our best weapon. Well done Linnea.

  • When I said that I’d leave if he didn’t start treating me better, things got scary, and I was told by my husband “You’re my wife and you’ll never leave me” while cornered by him.
    When I got strong enough, I left, before telling him in front of witnesses, as I was too scared, both for myself and our children, to try to tell him it was over on my own.
    You never know what goes on behind closed doors, most people think my ex husband is one of the good guys

    I’ve felt very angry with the recent media coverage and this article echoes my feelings

  • Completely agree with you. I have been asking myself all those questions the past couple of days and this could not have been better written. Thank you.

  • Thanks for highlighted the way the media reports on these types of event. Definitely food for thought.

  • Great point and really sad.

    One correction though: a foetus has a heartbeat from 3 weeks, brain waves from 6 weeks, and most abortions happen between 6-8 weeks, so the ‘near-invisible clump of cells’ idea is just inaccurate spin, that I used to believe as well, but that we need to stop repeating.

  • Thanks for articulating so well my rising disbelief and incredulity as they laud and praise to the heavens this vile murderer. “Ah sure he was a great GAA man”. The stink of it.

  • You highlight many truths. But Clodagh is still invisible. I was expecting you to tell us something about her. But she remains the wife of a murderer who we know much more about.
    We actually know very little about the mind of a man/woman who kills their children in a murder/suicide.

  • No doubt he was on antidepressants or something other psychiatric drug that is causing people to become homicidal and suicidal. Wake up to psychiatry people. Look at the statistics. …

  • I have to disagree and I find this article very disturbing. I am no expert on mental health but know enough to know I cant judge people who suffer its effects on the actions they take, however horrible they seem to us. We dont know what was going on in that mans mind. He may have thought he was doing the best thing for his wife and -that is what depression can do to you! Dont judge what you dont understand, Sorry if I am a little strongly worded on this, I know a lot of very lovely people (its very often the nicest people you meet) who suffer from depression and its something I feel very passionate about.

    • Ok, so if “the nicest” depressed person comes along and bludgeons your wife and your children to death it would be totally forgivable because that is what depression makes people do? What a load of utter garbage! No, none of us can presume to know that monsters nature but we can all safely assume that at that last moment of their lives Clodagh and her children would have been too terrified, confused and in too much pain to think of their murderer as “nice”. I certainly wouldn’t call someone “nice” if they murdered my family. Sorry if I’m strongly worded here. I’m not attacking you Sean, it’s just that I can’t justify such a horrendous act being forgivable due to depression. Everyone goes through depression at some point in their lives, some people struggle with it their whole lives, but is NOT an excuse for murder. Now please, ask yourself, if someone came to your house and bludgeoned your family to death with knives and a hatchet, would you call them “nice” and forgive them because they were depressed? The monster in this article may very well have thought he was doing the best thing for his wife and children, I am no judge of that, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he committed the most heinous crime and furthermore committed it in such a brutal, slow and painful manner. In my mind, a disturbed person who truly believes that they are”doing the best thing” for their family by murdering them does so in as fast and painless a method as they can.

  • A man slaughters his family..again. Its all about control really if you ask me. The ultimate punishment. It was an evil act. Damn the man I say.

  • U r so right in all u said too often when these such tragic circumstances happen the person who carried out the killing will always b portrayed to be a decent caring person .what kinda caring person would go on to murder the mother of his children n his children .oh my prayers are for the family left to find the answers .RIP Clodagh n the 3 sons she brought into the world .suicide is very tragic n depression is so common now n with all the help n awareness out there now n so much help why is this happening again n again .just think these murderers are controlling and hiding behind a mask .

  • Wonderful writing. I am a survivor of a brutally abusive marriage.
    I could have been Clodagh.
    May she and her precious boys rest in peace

  • Please don’t turn a national tragedy into a feminist argument. This title is utterly disrespectful. Have some respect for those involved and their grieving loved ones. This is NOT a feminist issue. The details are not known and it’s disgraceful to publicise speculation.

  • A well written article. I am pleased you have highlighted this issue and reminded us that the mother of the three boys, Clodagh, was brutally murdered. As a previous comment said maybe a street angel and a house devil. A lot of control issues here especially with the presentation of the perfect family unit. My sincerest condolences to all the families involved.

  • My thoughts over the last two days have been only for Clodagh and her three beautiful children, their family and friends. It’s heartbreaking and horrific. May they rest in peace .
    I only hope any woman in a controlling relationship finds the strength to get out before anything like this happens to another family .

  • Brilliant piece Linnea, was getting so annoyed at hearing how wonderful he was salt of the earth blah blah blah…. a mum and her son’s were murdered by a man that should have done this all to protect them , I think is very sad they their killer will be laid to rest with them RIP Clodagh and your 3 beautiful angels

  • Important points, well-made!
    I have never understood the way incidents like this are reported – putting all the focus on the perpetrator and ignoring their victims.
    RIP Clodagh and your children ?

  • Thank you- somebody has said exactly what I was thinking. Mental health issues and murdering people are completely different things. A different state of mind is attached to both. The fact (or not) Mr. Hawe may have had a ‘depressive episode’ as one article reported, has been accepted as a valid reason for this horrendous murder spree. This kind of talk, linking depression to homicide, is a dangerous road to venture down and one that will set the destigmatising of mental health back years, if not decades. Linnea well done. RIP Clodagh, Ryan, Niall & Liam.

  • Praise the lord , someone is talking sense , House Devil Street Angel , been glorified in the media, a mark of disrespect against his innocent victims … Rest in peace Clodagh & your 3 little boys .

  • Unfortunately the premise of this article is completely erroneous biased feminist nonsense. In the vast majority of family annihilations the discourse surrounding the men( who do perpetrate the majority of them) is that they are brutal animals who are completely responsible for their actions. However, when a woman perpetrates a similarly brutal crime against her children and/or husband there is an inundation of people clamouring to find some excuse or eternal reason for her actions such as postpartum depression, a variety of mental issues or supposed domestic abuse even if there is no evidence of it. Your remedial ideology blinds you to these facts and you just see what you want to see. Unfortunate.

  • The view point of a crime was most entierly focused on the perpetrator? astounding really, was there any real point beyond this grand standing sophistry?

  • Has it actually been proven that the father did this ….everyone is very quick to jump to conclusions as to who committed these horrendous murders .
    It’s a tragic story no matter what.
    But I believe in innocent until proven guilty.

  • Great analysis of a very tragic story ! Well done Linnea ! Power & control are a very dangerous weapon ! RIP Clodagh & her beautiful boys ! ?

  • I agree with both your points: #1, omitting Clodagh is an insult to the surviving family that has been devastated by this tragedy. Her parents, siblings (?), friends. It IS patriarchy. #2 the abuse of the phrase “mental illness” in relation to white men committing atrocities is simply sickening. I will keep an eye out for your future articles. Thank you.

  • I am glad some people think the way I do. He was a teacher, a father, a husband, a son, a brother, but he is the person that killed his wife and children. I don’t think mental health problems caused him to kill his family. After all he left a note on the door, so his mother in law wouldn’t enter the house. If he was suffering with mental health problems, while killing his loving family, why would he be worried who was going to called to the house the next day. The man is a killer who knew what he was doing. He deserves no sympathy. Most of the people in Ireland suffer with their mental health. That doesn’t mean they are going to kill someone in their family because of it. There is more to this tragedy.
    R.I.P. Clodagh and your loving sons Liam,Niall and Ryan. X

  • Reporting of the tragedy without reference to Clodagh as an innocent victim has been reprehensible. Thank you for highlighting this.

  • “There is a patriarchal narrative that runs through this entire story, from the act itself to the reporting of it, and we need to allow ourselves to see it if we are to find a way to prevent similar events from happening again.” — I understand the point you are making, but it is grotesque to use such a tragedy to make political capital for a cause you think is important. The murder of four people is not as a result of a “patriarchal narrative”, it’s not something to be used to score points. There are failures in the way the media are reporting this, I agree, that is a problem with the media, and a real problem with the media, but is NOT the cause of this tragedy.

  • Everything you say is how I feel, it’s like if she’s the enemy and she’s the bad person, there poor families have to face each other now and try to find out whyyyy

  • Beautifully written piece we can no longer play the mental health issue If a person is so unhappy with the life they are living I’m sorry but deal with it whatever way they have to BUT DO NOT END THE LIVES OF INNOCENT CHILDREN I’m sorry to be so blunt RIP

  • Again your article has highlighted the inequality that still exists between the sexes. If Clodagh had slaughtered her boys in the way their father did, she would be vilified beyond words. Instead, people are talking about this man as if he is some kind of saint who just made one wrong decision. Rather like young Broeck in the USA who raped an unconscious woman and only got six months supervised prison for it! What was a it his father said, “a 20 minutes mistake”, seriously!. If a woman had done the unspeakable things he did to her, to a man, she would be hounded to the grave as a monster. The inequality is truly beyond belief. Thank you for your article and for giving this mother a name and for showing the disparity, once again between women and men…

  • I am so glad this article made its way to me here in Syracuse, NY. When the Tuam story broke, I was outraged that the outcry seemed only to be about the fact that the babies corpses were buried in a tank. No one said anything about the 796 mothers of the 796 babies whose skeletons were found. Feminists, particularly feminists of Irish Catholic ancestry should be shouting about this every day. Religious patriarchy is behind most violence and so called “good” families are often controlled by violence.

  • I’m so glad to hear someone else say what I have been thinking. The only mention of poor Clodagh I overheard was a woman (early 20’s) saying “she must have known he was depressed, why didn’t she do something?” That made my blood boil. Great assumptions are made about such ‘pillars in the community’ but a man who would kill his wife and children is not merely depressed, he is a narcissistic controlling bully. He holds so little value on his wife and his children that if he chooses to die, they have no further purpose. Their lives have no use beyond his needs. This paints an appalling picture of poor Clodaghs life. To kill another person intentionally is murder. Murderers do not belong in graves beside their victims. They do not deserve the pity they could not show their victims. Enough eulogising the murderer. Time to think about the victims and their lives so callously cut short by a man who has too long been respected for nothing more than being a man

  • It seems impossible that this man murdered his wife and three children in such a horrific way, and that there was no sign of trouble beforehand. The mother , Clodagh, will never be able to tell us what went on inside that house. I am haunted by thoughts—–who did he kill first? did some of the family hear what was going on?

  • Hopefully the investigation will provide the coroner and the rest of us with an answer to this.

    What they are reporting is the outward image the offender wanted to protect by his action. The person who knew him best, he murdered. At least one person to speak about the children or Clodagh would have shown some balance. He clearly was not the man he portrayed.

    He killed his wife and his children. He left a scene for the emergency services that no one should have to see.

    She and her children deserved better, may they rest in peace.

  • I have had this conversation with so many people,, why has there been nothing published about clodagh, it is easy to point fingers and wonder about why this awful tragedy has happened – I think people are thinking exactly what this article outlines only the media have directed the story in the way they want it

  • Pure absolute drivel….can I ask people, just view the fact that there is no comments asking why such an article has been published…..they have all been removed…..would the article be the same if the women….you know…the other gender to man…was the scumbag that did this atrocity…?…every comment above is in praise for the writer….does everyone honestly think that we all agree with this person, all agree with this persons hilarious patriarchy world view and (this persons) view on this horrible, recent act…?….stop removing comments that contradict your own narrative and agenda…:^|…thank you

    • The only comments I’ve deleted so far have been duplicates – in addition to one Islamophobic comment. There’s plenty of criticism in here too if you’re bothered to look carefully enough! It’s just taking me quite a few hours to go through it all… Plenty more to come.

  • I have to do this anon as it’s not all my story. I had a relative who murdered his girlfriend then killed himself. Like that he was painted as a nice guy who just flipped. Well he wasn’t he was a controlling individual who couldn’t take that his girlfriend was breaking up with him. He meticulously planned out his actions. He didn’t flip. He was a cold murderer who was too cowardly to stick around and face the consquences.

  • Excellent article. So heartbreaking and hard to comprehend. May they all RIP. Only prayers and support can help all their family and friends.

  • Linnea, A very thoughtful article that highlights a trend of reporting that maybe uniquely Irish, but I suspect is repeated to some degree in other parts of the World.
    There is no doubt that there are many people who this incident will affect for many decades to come ….. it is a terrible tragedy and it is many of these people will now carry a personal burden to try to answer questions, behind closed doors. My thoughts are with all of the relations of the two extended families of these two parents and their three sons, R.I.P.
    Ireland seriously needs more mental health support for men, women and children. However, I am presently in a town in USA where a similar incident occurred two weeks ago, and no-one actually knows what happened or what was the conversations in their home, immediately prior to this or many other tragic “domestic” incidents …… this can never be known. This is a human Worldwide problem that occurs many times every year and needs more awareness and action.
    As we approach this family’s funeral, another unmentioned feature of media and society at funerals in Ireland is the photographing of people attending such tragic events, where it would normally be frowned upon and generally unwelcome.

  • Thank you so much for writing this article. I was wondering what happened the mother, wife, daughter? As you say she was ‘invisible’. Also invisible are the parents and extended families. I can’t imagine how they are coping or will into the future. Please spare your thoughts for the living and the poor mother go the invisible woman, mother teacher called Clodagh.

  • Brilliant writing , That poor woman to be killed , her babies before or after her will we ever know ?. God help them what terror he showed them poor babies

  • Words surrounding mental health are often over used or misplaced in the case of men who murder their own children and partners. It’s the most evil of crimes to take innocent children’s lives away along with their mother, usually born from some twisted notion that if I can’t have them no one will!

  • Thank you for writing this. The whole situation has me baffled. If he had beaten them and left them for dead he would have been labeled a monster yet when he kills them he is some sort of a saint that suffered so much that his victims are just an after though.
    We all know that there are plenty of men out there that are pillars of the community and something very different behind closed doors. I don’t know if this was his first violent act but lets be clear, he was an educated man with two good incomes coming in I’m sure that he could have looked for help before it got this bad. Was it his ego that stopped him ? Who knows. He was a coward and his wife and paid the ultimate price because of it. Rip to her and her boys

  • Are you actually joking me? I just did a quick search in RTE site for the article they published and this is what was contained:

    The family have been named locally as Alan and Clodagh Hawe and their sons Niall, Ryan and Liam.

    Mr Hawe was a teacher in Castlerahan National School, where Niall and Ryan were pupils.

    Mrs Hawe was also a teacher, at Oristown National School. School principal Ann O’Kelly Lynch issued a statement this evening saying: “We learned this afternoon of the death of our colleague Clodagh Hawe. This is a terrible tragedy for the families, schools and the communities involved.

    “We are deeply saddened by this event. Our sympathies and thoughts are with Clodagh’s family and friends.

    “Clodagh was a much loved and valued teacher in our school and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”


    What’s so invisible about that. Clodaghs name was mentioned 4 times there and there was quotes from her colleague describing how great a person she was, yet you say that she wasn’t mentioned. That’s BS.

    Irish Times article is similiar also:

    I could go on.

    This feminist, patriarchal narrative that you’re trying to spin from this story is terrible and seems like you’re overlooking the tragic nature of what happened because of how you perceive the woman to have been portrayed by the media. Absolutely shocking.

  • I don’t agree about Clodagh being completely invisible I read a whole article about her being a primary school teacher and how her students were devastated and I didn’t go looking for it it was in the headline news. However I also dont have any sympathy for him destroying 4 people’s lives like that and he should be called a murder because thats what he did. I pity the poor ban garda who had to discover that unimaginable scene (as if leaving a note saying to ring the gards made it ok!!) no amount of training in any job would prepare you for that she will live with it for the rest of her life. It’s beyond understanding.

  • Thank you ….
    The shock the horror ..pain..the unimaginable the no words to comprehend …Thank you all of this big bloddy painful picture with all the words suggesting all kinds of graphics juxtaposed with this (normal ) family life …silence and silently editing of a person also a woman also the wife also the mother of these boys out of the picture..Thank you ..

  • As a man and father, my first reaction to hearing this was revulsion and a deep sense of puzzlement.
    I have to admit, I don’t purchase newspapers any more but it’s difficult not to see the front pages of all the papers in passing and I myself was struck by the way the papers were almost praising the murderer and also the absence of the name and picture of mother .
    Mother, mammy , and of course Clodagh , names used by those who loved this girl and then woman, throughout her life that were denied her in her most venerable and forsaken state.
    Your article very elegantly articulated that we Irish somehow revert to a form of denial when faced with something of this nature and that notion seem to require the painting of a picture which has a 1920’s ,30s devout catholic family in view.
    A strong , neighbourly god fearing father who was a pillar of the community , kids lined up in a row and a wife somewhere in the background, probably too busy to have her picture taken.
    Clodagh , mammy , mum, a mother to her three children a daughter with a mother and father of her own , brothers, sisters perhaps , friends , neighbours and acquaintances with a lifetime of proof she was here and important was sent to eternity by a man, this man using a knife and at that moment we can be certain she was more than her disgracefully Abscent description in the media .
    We can be certain she was a fierce tigress, fighting for the lives of her children and herself against an assailant.
    My thoughts are with her and her children . Making sense of why this happened us pointless, you can’t.
    Learning from it, yes we can but I suspect we Irish have some relics to expell as a people around some of our notions of family, manhood and life before we can be at a place where this scene of craziness can easily be avoided by a different kind neighbourliness . One that says it’s OK , not to be OK.
    It’s not a shame it’s not a slur it’s OK.

  • I wonder what Clodagh had suffered at the hands of this monster behind closed doors, probably for many years.
    Domestic violence, the guilty secret of far too many families, I suspect.

  • Will the pathologist doing the post mortem look for earlier bruises from domestic abuse? I doubt it.
    The sainting of the axe murderer – extraordinary.

  • I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t realise, until reading your article, that Clodagh has been completely left out of all the narrative and pieces I have read on this tragedy.
    Thank you for opening my eyes, well done.

  • I’m amazed the media did not go so far as to insinuate that Clodagh was in some way to blame. The media are a huge obstacle to any real social change in Ireland. A very well written and considered piece Linnea. We need you to keep this up. RIP poor Clodagh. Many people are thinking of you.

  • Well spoken but it tells us more how post tiger Ireland has changed.The vulnerable the weak the voiceless are cast aside.Our leaders dictate what we should think or feel.They stumble like a blindman in a minefield and are divisive in our society.Public vs private.workers/unemployed.Trying to make a little America out of Ireland with its divisions and prejudices

  • I feel the reporting of this appalling crime focusing on the father/murderer was precisely because he was an’upstanding’ member of his community and so beggared belief! I mean they were witnessed enjoying a match earlier that day…how do you suddenly go home and at a set time just decide to obliterate your whole family including yourself? Well you don’t! You PLAN it. And yes I agree Clodagh Hawe’s plight has as much right to be heard as his! One further point which I feel important is…not everyone with depression kills. So the question remains…WHY?

  • Read Gloria Steinem “Moving beyond Words”, Part 1 (public library) and you will have a very clear picture about what is happening here.

  • While reporting this terrible tragedy is nessisary,i think he has been overly reported this family has relitives who are moruning ther loss and this story is constantly being trashed and pulled apart in the media it must be devastating for their familys to read tis constantly R.I.P

  • Thank you very much for this article. I wholeheartedly agree with the points you make. I want to learn more about Clodagh and I am grateful to you for letting me know her name. I was and remain sickened by the press coverage of “obliging” daddy and his sons.

    The sentimentality of most pieces of press coverage is making me gag. This man is a family annihilator. Not a happy go lucky chap who happened to “snap”. According to the research, most family annihilators kill all family members, not some family members and are usually methodical, planning the attack on the family as a whole.

    They commonly externalise blame, otherwise, they would just kill themselves.

    One study investigated family annihilators who had not committed suicide after slaughtering their family and none expressed remorse, choosing to see themselves as victim rather than villain.

    I am in the process of writing hand -written correspondence to all of the newspapers to express my anger. Methinks, they won’t be getting another cent from me.


  • So well said! Poor Clodagh & her 3 boys! what a waste of 4 lives & don’t want to even imagine what they went through, may they rest in peace.

  • Yes the focus was on the outstanding man and his role in the community
    this is the first time I have heard the mothers name, Clodagh.

    Many of us will know that what is potrayed is very often not the truth, for what really goes on behind closed doors can be a dark secret.

    My prayers go out to everyone, especially to both families, the community and to all of us. Thankyou for your article.

  • Hadn’t picked up on this when reading the initial news reports but glaringly obvious when highlighted. What does it say about the particular reporters/ editors responsible? Hope they too take your comments on board.

  • Brilliant, articulate and courageous writing Linnea, standing up for and giving a voice to the ‘voiceless’ Clodagh, thank you.

  • The whitewashing of his actions were further bolstered by the fact that they were all buried together, murdered and murderer; a family to the bitter end. Whilst this decision was taken by their extended family, who are obviously not in their right minds with the grief, it perpetuates the golden myth of this regular guy who ‘would do anything for anyone’ and gives a morbid validation to his actions; that he had earned the right to be laid to rest alongside them, the poor, tormented multiple murderer!

  • This story is all so chilling. I live not far away and it is on my mind all day. I totally agree with the writer and so well said.
    call me old fashioned if you will but I believe this man was possess by
    Satan himself. We don’t hear about him these days but we see his brutal works. What other explanation can there be that a man can do such a brutal act and leave a note on the door. Just can’t understand why.

  • I lived with the couple in Navan back in 1999. I saw first hand the animal that he was. I saw the jealousy and possessiveness. We had a few run ins and I moved out. I told her at the time to get away but alas his hold was strong then. I often inquired about her and warned people that knew her what he was like but nobody listened or believed it. I have lived abroad for 12 years but he always remained with me for some reason, now perhaps I know why. I phoned cavan garda station yesterday to vent as I was appalled that he was not potrayed as the animal he was. If you want further info email me.don’t print this as I am just getting it off my chest but you are right…A Cold blooded psycho is all he was and poor Clodagh and her children and her family were the only victims here.

    • Linnea – first, my compliments on your excellent writing. You have opened up a Pandora’s Box of public discourse. While I get it that your angle is about media representation of the case, there is an anonymous poster here who provides an invaluable witness account of having lived with the couple in 1999 in Navan. Can you please investigate further and contact the poster? Such brutal domestic violence does not happen out of the blue and the public need to be enlightened on the mask that abusers wear in public. Let us not allow the deaths of Clodagh Hawe and her sons be in vain. The event is a wake-up call.

  • It is sad that this author has to bring abortion into such a tragedy. The mother Clodagh Hawe was a mass goer and a church reader and would most certainly be pro life. To use her tragic death to push for abortion is another desperate attempt of trying to normalise abortion and shows not only poor journalism, but contempt for all life.

  • I have read much about that wonderful women. She was a teacher in a school near Kells Co. Meath. The pupils are getting councilling. I have seen pictures of her. To be honest it is difficult to read anything about this event. It makes no sense.

  • Hi Linnea,
    Serious deja vu going on here. I wrote an open letter to a local journalist recently about her own crappy reporting of the murder of Claire and Charlotte Hart recently in Spalding, Lincolnshire, and it went viral on facebook. The letter was re-posted in full here:
    It cannot be a coincidence, or paranoia, that women are erased from the story, if it happens again and again.

  • Thank you for bringing this to the public domain. I thought it was just me that noticed this unbalanced reporting. Well done linnea .
    May they all rest in peace and my thoughts and prayers are with the families. Not forgetting the children’s friends.

  • “Her name is Clodagh.” Well said, Linnea. Thank you for helping to remember this victim of the most horrendous abuse imaginable. I read that Clodagh fought valiantly to the bitter end to protect and save her children. Of course she did. She gave them life. God rest them all.

  • Disgraceful commentary on what is the worst tragedy to befall a family.
    Smacks of someone trying to push their own popularity and their own pet agendas. You even got a mention of abortion in!

  • I agree wholeheartedly with all you said in your article. Mental illness is awful, but no excuse for murdering your children and your wife. Maybe if it was said loud and clear that it was a violent murder of a mother and her children instead of stating what a wonderful , kind man he was it might make a difference another family. R I P Clodagh and her boys.

  • Thank you. There are no excuses for domestic violence. There are no excuses for the misogyny and everyday sexism that women endure. Clodagh deserved better, and so did her children. We all do.

  • Until these events unfolded, I have been haunted by the case of another murder suicide. Two young boys, also stabbed to death in their own home in Dublin. Stabbed to death by their mother. As the mother of two young boys I just couldn’t come to terms with it. I had so many questions.

    Their father arrived home from a business trip to discover his wife and children dead. I don’t recall reading much about the father but the press did cover the boys and their mother quite a bit.

    Their is also the case of the young mother who drowned herself and her children by driving into a river while the father was at work.

    These are horrific events and we find the details difficult to process because we are sound of mind. I don’t think it is fair to say that patriarchal control is an element in the attacks, mothers murder too but that is far harder to come to terms with.

  • Well done ,I thought the same no mention about his wife only his children.I think this sad world of ours will only find peace when we start respecting all its inhabitants as’s call Balance male and female working together getting the same pay and respect .

  • As I expected you’re censoring or neglecting to post comments that disagree with your article. Must be lovely living in your echo chamber. Repulsive.

    • I’m sorry that that’s what you think but I’m actually only getting around to going through the hundreds of comments I’ve received about this piece now. But thank you for taking the time to comment nonetheless!

      • I apologise for that comment, it was unduly harsh. I posted that when there were only 71 comments and the comment numbers were stable. Other people who agreed with the article were being moderated straight away even though they posted after my comment which remained posted/unmoderated. So I hope you can understand why I thought I might have been censored at the time. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply also despite my harsh words.

  • Thank you for this excellent article. I hope it will wake us all up to the suffering inflicted on women every day, which springs from a machista mindset.

  • Brilliant article. I have been so angry at the maintrem reporting. At first I thought they couldn’t get a picture of the mother (no name yet) then as the days went on I couldnt believe they were just brushing her out. RTE especially were dispicable. Cameras at his school, nothing at hers .. interviews with his friends and colleague’s, none with hers … pictures of him but only a tiny thumbnail photo of Clodagh on day three. It seemed they knew some secret reason that it was her fault for driving this poor, sick, GAA treasurer, handball playing, excellent beloved teacher, dependable neighbour, wonderful colleague to go out of his mind. So out of his mind that he was able to write two notes. How insulting to people who are suffering genuine mental health problems. There is now a worse stigma for them as people are worrying that anyone with depression is capable of turning into a monster. There isn’t even any indication that he had depression, but they needed an “excuse” for him. Who knows what control and emotional abuse went on behind closed doors or did his high standing in the community rule this out ? It isn’t just a male/female thing. If this family had a poor socio economic background they would have called him what he was – a murdering monster. If his mind was so badly gone that he thought they needed to die with him, then why did he not kill them in a way that would cause the least suffering instead of butchering them. Thank God we now have the internet and people like you to spread the other side of the story and give Clodagh and her family some dignity.

  • A very well written article on a very difficult topic. This was a ruthless and barbaric act carried out on a defenceless woman and her children. This is the real world of Domestic Violence. Rest in peace Clodagh and your lovely sons.

  • Excellent piece, shared in the Netherlands where it’s just as applicable as Ireland! Thanks you!

  • Thank you for writing these important words. Every woman in the country must feel what is happening here. Perhaps that’s the point.

  • If he had of been an intruder he would be labelled as a psychopath and people would be speaking very different words. He was a murderer, not a saint. And this is the first article I’ve read that finally speaks truth.

  • Well done to point out how clodagh almost forgotten in this case . Praising the murdering father/husband and blaming mental breakdown is not solving the male tendancy to control.
    Respect for women /wives must be first.
    Only good follows. Great insight your article .

  • Excellent article Linnea. I have been so furious all week at the media coverage of this brutal murder of this mother and her three boys! This man, terrified and murdered his entire family and all I read is what a great Father, Husband, Cummunity Man he was. The only true article I read is by Paul Gillian head of St Patricks Hospital in Dublin when he spoke about how children have a right to live.
    and how few people who are suffering from mental illness are violent to other people.
    This to me was an act perpetrated by a very
    controlling person, a man who made a decision to wipe out three young boys and their mother. A man who had no love or care for those he murdered in such a brutal fashion.
    He showed no empathy for those three young boys and their Mum, but seem to make time to write a note to warn others about entering the house to see the terrible crime he committed. Perhaps he still wanted to preserve that idea about what a wonderful, caring, community spirited person he really was.

  • It’s a good point. And the first time I’ve head the woman’s name. Reminds me of the coverage of Michaela McAreavey murder. She was referenced completely by her relationship to the men in her life: Wife of GAA player…. daughter of GAA coach….I was amazed when her mother eventually got a mention. I had assumed her mother was dead because she was never mentioned.

  • Being mentally ill and in such a dark place that you consider taking your own life must be torture and can we ever really understand what mental illness means?? but murder is murder and this was an horrific premeditated murder. RIP Clodagh and your babies

  • “We hear about tragic killings like these every now and then. Nine times out of ten (I don’t have statistics, but my hunch is that the figure is far higher), the perpetrator is a man.” She should have checked her assumptions because: “According to the Department of Justice, women commit only 14 percent of violent crimes in the United States. But a study on filicide shows they commit nearly half of all parental murders.” Presume presume presume. What sort of privilege is it that you can presume a whole category of people are murders without even having to check your facts.

    • Thanks for this, Clint! I’ve looked into the statistics since writing this piece (I had no idea that it would reach so many people!), and you’re right but the statistics are highly complex in a number of different ways – they vary depending on the place, the type of situation, the age of the children etc.

  • Very well written. Thank you for taking the time to write this.
    We need well written pieces like this to remind us of the biase the exists in how journalists report facts. And one of the facts here is that an innocent woman is brutally killed and it is not worth giving her a name

  • Brilliant and much needed article. Patriarchy has been sustained by Irish journalists over the past few days. The veneer of’ respectability’ afforded by the media to a man who planned and carried out the murder of Clodagh and their three children has for centuries helped to hid the tragic realities that exits behind the hall door of many homes.

  • Such a great write up about so sad a story i too was thinking why the hell all the praise about this man and not a word about the poor mother and the 3 beautiful children hope the media takes a leaf out of linnea dunnes type of journalism well done n thk u linnea dunne

  • I find it illuminating that out of all the replies written, there are less than 10 male voices, which further underscores the “invisibility” of women in general: that is, that so few men have thought it worth responding to the crime and negation of one person who was murdered. I salute every one of you men for taking the time to respond!
    Let’s be clear about something…the excuse of “mental illness”, let alone ‘depression” is a very stinky herring. To kill with a knife need not be slow, if he cut their throats, or penetrated the heart….however it DOES take thought: it does take planning…and he was lucid enough to leave a note. It sounds more like a psychosis (?paranoid?) than depression…depression is usually enervating.
    You are absolutely right that it is a symptom of patriarchalism: a system that no longer serves any citizen’s needs and rests on control… the point of murder. Yes, women also commit murder in a patriarchal society.
    Your article was excellent and recreation.

  • I wondered about the missing person in the reports. Thanks for filling us in on Clodagh.
    However I think that a very important message in the reporting has been totally missed. It does not matter one whit the gender of the killer. I realise that the majority are male. However the message i get, is that in the main these killers appear to most people as being perfectly ordinary. Very seldom do they appear as violent blood thirsty monsters. Perhaps if we all slowed down a little and spent more time with each other and got to know each other better, people like these might have more support or perhaps their intent might get revealed in time to save lives. The fact is that many of these killers appear to a public, who know nothing of their inner tortures, as ordinary helpful community people.

  • Thank you for writing this, for spelling it out. It’s so true – and makes the situation all the more heart-breaking.

  • I’m so happy this was pointed out. I’ve been getting annoyed reading the papers and in particular seeing the photo of the father with his three sons over and over. Those kids suffered a horrific death at the hands of their father!! Where is the picture of Clodagh and her kids? It’s like she didn’t exist! And he’s been praised about what a nice person he was? How can qualified writers not read between their own lines?

    Thank God for this article.

    Very well written.

    Thank you too, thought it was just me!!

  • Nicely written Linnea. I totally agree and have been quite frustrated by everything I’ve read about this horrific story -until now. Thank you for speaking out.
    RIP Clodagh, my heart is breaking for you and your boys.

  • Thank you for writing this, and for honouring her memory. It is great that the Guardian have featured it but truly this should be on the front page of the Irish Times. Modern journalism leaves me cold. Its good to know there are still a few ethical writers left, nobly penning truths and asking difficult questions instead of churning out gutter-level garbage and click bait.

  • God Bless Clodagh. My father shot my mother and then killed himself 24 years ago but to be fair, the press (most of which I was oblivious to at the time) was very much geared around the real victim: my mother and her struggles. We as the (surviving) kids were (fairly) second while the perpetrator got at best an embarrassed occasional reference.
    What is there to celebrate about a man who murders his nearest and dearest?

  • I was in a mixed group of people last night that were discussing this exact issue – where is the mother in all of this and why is the media rushing to defend a man who murdered his wife and children. Thank you for expressing how fundamentally wrong and unbalanced the media coverage has been of this case.

  • Good for you for bringing this up!!! I’m all for the mental health system to be brought into the 21st century but this man had enough wits about him to write a note and pin it to the door. My heart goes out to the families on both sides. Such a loss. !!! I also can’t help thinking was that poor invisible woman the last to die and know that her poor babies were dead! !! R.i.p Linea your children and your husband.

  • Well written & so glad you put the focus on to the innocent victim Clodagh. I thought the media were being respectful initially but by today Clodagh has become invisible. This is just wrong on so many levels. She must have lived a fearful life in recent times. RIP Clodagh.

  • So sad its still so obvious and so maddening nobody yet understands mental illness and no known cure for same God rest all that family members and comfort the bereaved extended my prayers and thoughts are with u all at this v difficult time and only u and your family will get the grace and peace and consolation 2 carry on at this difficult time and through out your lives ahead and always through the Grace of God

  • This happened in Australia recently (Lockhart murders). The details were the same, right down to the self-serving suicide note. and the response of neighbours and the media was the same: He was such a great bloke! Would do anything for anyone, etc etc etc. The similarities are astounding. And we have had pretty much the same discussion among the feminist community / feminist bloggers which you are now having here.

  • Well said,however we need to always remember all the victim’s no matter the gender. It is a fact that both genders kill.
    The need to remember and celebrate the victim’s lives and not the perpetrators should be foremost.
    It is the greatest disrespect that we show to Clodagh and the boys lives that some are more interested in trying to speculate why or excusing him.

  • Media have a very small window to grab people’s attention which is why we have sensational journalism. I stopped watching the news years ago because of the known slanted reporting methods for increasing ratings rather than providing a balanced or factual version of events in the world.

    Thank you Linnea for your integrity in reporting. I understand the family and friends of the man that murdered Clodagh and her children need to try to minimise their pain, and unjustified guilt, by pointing out his good traits. By doing this, they are also minimising his murderous actions, and the impact it is having on Clodagh’s family and friends. A truly good person (people) would not take the life of innocents.

    I wish future generations the gift of remembering the names of the victims, and not the names of the murderers.

    May they all rest in peace, regardless of what brought them to this point.

  • Yes, mentally ill someone reports. How long will he be mentally ill? Long enough to be found “not guilty due to mental illness”. How much longer then? Then long enough to be institutionalized for a complimentary period of time, 1-2 years lets say….Then be found mentally stable and request to live in a nice little Community, maybe even anonymously. Hmmm..oh well. What else is new. The media have already set this in motion. Bad on them! God Bless the children and their beautiful mother.

  • A superb article and I only hope that Ireland have a policy of holding Domestic Homicide Reviews to dig down into what was going on for Clodagh in the months (even years) before her death. This was most likely about control and the press feed into that mans position of power by giving all their focus to him. Her name was Clodagh.

  • I was having the same reaction to the coverage. Where do you start with such systematic patriarchal language in the media? This is why waking the feminist released a collective roar that was happening anyway, just in isolation or in small conversations. This journey is just beginning. Women’s voices are vital to round out this island.

  • Once again the emphasis on reporting these murders is on the male perpetrator – this does not surprise me as there is still little understanding of the power and control that exists in families – more so in the media and how it is reported. Shame this is how most people pick up on views and opinions so thank you for this piece and bringing our attention to the female victim.

  • Interesting yet you yourself even do not shed light on her other than a name. You serve nothing than to point fingers. If you truly wanted to maker her not invisible I though you msy have attempted to tell her story. But You did not. How are You any better?

  • Thank you for writing this. In these situations we are sadly let down by mainstream media reporting. You article is brilliant and raises meaningful questions and will hopefully open the door to balanced and reasoned dialogue in relation to what is a horrendous crime.

  • What a well written story….the silent scream is all too often overlooked. I can’t help but wonder or even think about what those young boys and CLODAGH went through in life and death… .what was their life really like as all I see is a control freak and to portray him in papers as the lovely family man does not wash with me …to compare him to people suffering mental health is an insult ..May CLODAGH and her sons now rest in peace. ..

  • Exactly Linnea, well said. These patriarchal habits of thought need to be challenged daily and moment to moment. It’s pitiful when journalists who perceive themselves as holding a critically reflective stance provide such trite analysis ( eg Irish Times).

  • A very powerful article, but it does not go far enough. This coward who turned the family home into a slaughter house deserves nothing but universal condemnation; instead we get rubbish about his handball prowess- have we totally lost any notion of a moral compass?

  • How can I follow your writing Linnea? I thought I could somehow but can’t seem to find a link to click on to add you to the blogs I follow, sorry to be a bother but can you help please?
    Well done for the article and your work, it is much appreciated for its feminist stance,
    jacqui lovell

    • Thanks for the request, Jacqui! The honest answer is that I haven’t blogged in a while and don’t have anything set up properly! I’ll look into it though, for sure. Delighted that you’re keen to read more.

  • A brilliant and important piece. I’ve just discovered your blog and am keen to read more. Thank you!

  • Thank you for this article it was needed #Clodagh for those that did not know her personally we will remember her name forever. May she rest in peace. This has affected us all as a nation this week and how many people are suffering in silence and fear? Thank you.

  • In Australia, about 60 women a year are murdered at the hands of their partner or ex partner and nothing meaningful is done.

    Conversely, when one of our state governments discovered that, on average, 6 young men were being killed by ‘one hit punches’ in alcohol fueled violence, they immediately introduced mandatory sentencing, increased police powers and alcohol sale restrictions. Since those measures have been introduced, there has been only 1 death in nearly 3 years. 60 women a year – nothing done. 6 men a year – strong action with positive results.

    This is not a new problem. We know patriarchal ideology is ruling our media and our discourses and indoctrinating us from our earliest beginnings to put men above women. The question is, how can we change it? This issue comes up periodically and then fades away with nothing changed.

    Linnea, what actions do you believe could affect real change on this issue?

    • I wish I had all the answers – and the time to reply to this properly, because it’s obviously a really important question.

      I think the clues are in words and concepts such as toxic masculinity and feminism, and also in teaching consent, talking about domestic violence, and indeed ending the stigma around mental illness.

  • Our male dominated, biased reporting has to be challenged all the time along with ointing out the ‘elephant in the room’ problem of such manifestations of macho, male behaviours.

  • Taking of a life is evil behaviour, whoever does it. Mentally ill people rarely murder and are more likely to be the victim of evil people than being the perpetrator. Evil and sin are not sicknesses or disorders. They are choices the person makes to destroy human life in order to dominate and control outcomes. Priests should not call sin an illness because it isn’t – it’s a choice the person makes and the guilt they feel is rational because they have done the wrong thing. In my opinion abortion, suicide and other forms of killing are all mistakes and the wrong choice to make. The law in Ireland may change to allow for abortion and then we will have the same high murder rate of 0-2 yrs of age children as they have in the UK. Both men and women go by what is legal i.e. what you can do without any comeback, only a certain amount of people in Ireland today have high moral standards because morals have not been handed down to this overly entertained generation.

  • Really good work here. It should be compulsory reading for all journalists and broadcasters. Hope you’ll be taking this research further. Thanks

  • Linnea I respect and agree with much of what you’ve said, but even a cursory survey of online media reveals that on the contrary poor Clodagh is far from “all but invisible”. Your sentiments are noble, but do you think maybe there’s a possibility you’ve selectively cherry-picked from all the coverage in order to neatly fit your agenda?

    • I’m aware that it’s not all media and all pieces, but the overall narrative is still quite strong. I’m also not criticising any one journalist or publication, but rather hoping to talk about how this could’ve been done differently and should be done differently in the future. Media has a huge responsibility in the worlds it creates and in how it mirrors society, and the huge majority of media outlets failed to ask questions about domestic violence from the get-go, while referring to Clodagh in the passive form mainly. These stories can’t be taken out of context.

  • Well written. Thanks to Roy Greenslade at The Guardian for posting a link here. Clodagh is now visible. Thanks Linnea.

  • I read this on the Guardian – an excellent, thought-provoking piece. I’ll never read another article about similar cases (sadly far too common) without remembering this.

  • Excellent article. Indeed murder is the ultimate act of control and that need to control, not depression, is the real mental illness. From US.

  • Excellent article.
    The reporting on this tragedy reminded me of the reporting on the murder of Alex Velocci by his father who committed suicide. The father was a “very quiet person” who “was never in any trouble with anyone”, who “loved his son” and in fact “did everything” for his family and had “no badness whatsoever”. The domestic violence used to abduct Alex from his mother, Jodie Power, was barely mentioned. On the same day was a murder-suicide in Spalding, England in which the husband lay in wait to shoot his wife and daughter dead, and was later described as “the nicest guy you could ever meet”, with biographies on the murderer and his daughter, little said about his wife.
    The patriarchal narrative exists in the way most of these stories are reported, and reinforces the myth that this is about “volatile” relationships and mental health problems rather than a sense of entitlement to control.

  • Great article – and thank you for raising the abortion discourse as a real factor in the bigger discussion. RIP Clodagh and your three boys ❤️

  • Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I think in some part we are not focusing on her out of an odd respect for her, ‘poor thing, she’d probably not want all the fuss’, which also comes from a misogynistic point of view.

  • Wonderful piece of writing and your analysis of the coverage is enlightening. Thanks for this wonderfully provocative piece. We need writers like you to question our blind prejudices and, my goodness, we do have a lot of them! Keep up the good work and well done!!

  • Well written. At the end of the day….he is a serial killer….who robbed his wife of her life and her kids. Depression is an awful disease….but it is appalling the way this is being reported. It was a brutal vicious attack on each member of his family…the media are nearly “excusing” him and removing his wife from the picture…disgusting.

  • Well written. Let Gillian not be forgotten RIP and him the murderer not forgiven. Where are the tributes for a loving mother, her work as a teacher I’m glad you have written this and Gillain won’t be forgotten

  • I am shocked at Clodagh`s mother and sister`s response : five angels.. our beautiful Alan… etc. They obviously do not understand domestic violence , it doesn`t matter if it was Alan`s first or last act of violence, it was DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. He seems to have hoodwinked lots of people; he got to leave a letter explaining to the relatives HIS reasons for murdering other humans BUT Clodagh and her children were not allowed to leave letters explaining what was about to happen them ( which obviously they did not want happening). He just saw them as his property , extensions of himself , with no rights to their own lives. We Irish need to be educated about Cluster B personality types, sociopaths,psychopaths and Narracists, and stop pretending everything must be due to mental illness.

  • Thank you for writing this article, it is excellent and to the point. Many of us took exception to the fact that Clodagh was hardly mentioned but you took the initiative and spelt out and put into perspective on how cases like this and other abuses of women are generally reported on.
    Maybe I missed something but I was also wondering why Clodagh’s mother immediately suspected something was wrong when she called to the house and there was no reply.

  • An article that had to be written and was indeed well done. Perhaps the newspaper editors will take note. Sincerest condolences to Clodagh’s remaining family members and friends. Prayers offered for all who knew or are related to any or all of that tragic family. RIP

  • Thank you for pointing out the lack of information about Clodagh and her poor son’s, 4 innocent people were murdered. May they rest in peace.

  • We are all devastated by this, no matter what our politics or our beliefs. There are circles of sorrow rippling out and even the faintest one is too much for words.
    But of the anger it is right to speak and you called it as so many people saw it. I hope the papers take a good hard look at their reporting. I hope that women and men out there in bad situations are looking at that domestic abuse checklist and thinking, maybe my partner has problems but look at what they are doing to me and my kids. I believe we have all together started a change. Thank you, Linnea.
    Let’s look after each other.

  • Well said, thank you. I thought it was only me! I wondered where the wife had disappeared to in all the reporting but thought perhaps I’d missed out as I haven’t been reading the reports closely: my impressions have been formed mainly from TV/radio reporting and some online.
    An interesting and well-considered blog.
    God rest Clodagh and her sons.

  • His mental torment and vulnerability? I think it’s fair to assume clodagh and the children lived with vast mental torment and vulnerability. Lived and died with it.

  • Well said; and goodness did it need saying.

    That aside, what a tragedy – even when I was single, before I had my kids, I used to look at stories like this and wonder “HOW?”, now they leave me cold. There is nothing my children or my wife could ever do that would allow me to stab them to death, so I have to conclude that he was mentally ill, and the tragedy is then all about the World that is now lionising him and ignoring his dead wife – he lived in a world where patriarchal norms quite probably prevented him from appearing vulnerable or seeking help.

    Everything about this PROVES how urgent and desperate it is that we alter the nature of our society in the World, to let men be men without making them monsters.

    I don’t want to make this about men’s suffering, I am not trying to diminish your important message, I promise you. But the two things are intertwined. If we lived in a World where Clodagh was receiving at least as much attention as her killer in the aftermath of this tragedy, then I would contend that the tragedy itself would have been far less likely.

    I don’t get it – even putting aside arguments of decency and fairness – ending the Patriarchy and rejecting toxic masculinity is in the best interests of men as well as women – why are we as a gender not on board with that?

    Thanks so much for writing this piece – I really wish that you didn’t have to.

  • This man will be given a hero’s funeral 2day with no doubt guards of honour from 3 schools where bewildered children will be lined up like robots. All the sport’s clubs he was involved with will most likely do the same. But this man brutally stole 4 innocent lives. He is not a hero and to portray him as such is an appalling message for young vulnerable children and teenagers. May God help all who have to deal with the aftermath of this man’s totally selfish act.

  • Superb piece, Linnea.
    I am troubled with the lack of analysis about about the impact of a patriarchal culture which permits people to believe that they “own” and can control children and women.

  • In the past huge opprobrium was heaped on those who committed suicide, they had to be buried separately and we were told by the clergy that they had gone to hell. In a more enlightened age we learned that many who took their own lives here unfortunates living in their own hell who had in some cases been failed by society. This led to compassion for what became to be seen as victims. This has unfortunately blurred the lines in cases such as this. We need to balance our sympathy for the suicidal person and reinforce our condemnation of vile acts such as happened here so that no one ever sees it as acceptable to murder anyone even if in some crazed mind it seems the victims would be better off.

  • I had asked the same question myself what about Clodagh? Such a horrible death she and her boys must have had RIP . As a mother of three myself it breaks my heart to think how anyone could do this to their loved ones – thanks for writing this #her name was Clodagh

  • I’m sorry but I disagree with almost everything in this article. I don’t think the media have been praising this murderous father, simply retelling all the things people have said about him. How shocking to be part of a community and find out that one of the most gentlemanly and obliging men in it was plotting this. I know I would say, had I known him, “I can’t believe he did this, he was always so kind/sweet/helpful/polite” because that would be my frame of reference of him. It wouldn’t in any way glorify him or his horrific actions, it is just a way to make sense of the senseless.

    I think the anti-women feminist arguments are tenuous at best. I think if it was the other way around and his wife were the one to have committed these murders then her neighbours I’m sure would say she was a beautiful woman, a great mother and always had a friendly word. Not everything has to have a hidden, misogynistic agenda. I do think it is sad that she is not more visible is in the reporting of this incident.

    I agree it would be beautiful to hear more about Clodagh’s kind nature and her life and less about her horrific husband but he is the one who is news, it is focus on him that reminds us to be careful and vigilant about people who seem so normal but underneath could be a monster. Have any of the media reports that “praise” this man left out the fact that he stabbed 4 members of his wonderful family? No I don’t think so, surely that is immediate condemnation of his actions.

  • I will remember you Clodagh “Invisible Woman” though I never knew you at all. RIP
    What a superb, succinct article by an obviously talented journalist. I will remember you too.

  • Thank you Linnea. Unfortunately there is such an enormous lack of awareness regarding Domestic Violence.

  • I agree with most of what you’ve written, Linnea, and I think you’ve done a great service by tackling the hypocrisy surrounding this kind of tragedy. However, I think attributing abuse (and sometimes the murder) of children to “a patriarchal worldview” is only partially correct, as women are also capable of treating children as possessions subject to their control and, sometimes, mental torture and violence. You may reply that these women have themselves been conditioned by patriarchy, but, though no doubt true, it’s something of a circular argument. In short, everyone must take some responsibility for their actions, and – equally – blame must be apportioned appropriately. Blame, of course, is not the real objective. Rather, a reappraisal of how children are treated in our society.

  • Excellent well written article Linea and so true. My heart goes out to Clodagh’s family. I wonder what suffering she’s had to put up with behind closed doors for years and how sad and tragic for it all to end this way. God rest her and her darling boys.

  • Thanks Linnea for raising this important topic from an Irish woman living in Sweden. It is a tragedy and everyone is still coming to terms with it, with family members reeling and being quoted about their plans (which I find intrusive) “bury them in the same grave” etc. I don’t believe we are in a place to judge them and their decisions, they are as one would expect in an almost catatonic state from shock. However, I do believe we need to be aware of how slanted our reporting is and recognize the life/ death of a woman is as important as that of her husband and children.

  • Awareness of personality disorders in Irish society and amongst people in general is sadly limited. I really feel we should be teaching kids in secondary schools about what constitutes this so they don’t inadvertently end up marrying/working for a person with a personality disorder, as they are frighteningly common but do not usually come to something like this. People with a narcissistic personality disorder often occupy ‘pilar of society’ positions as it supplies their narcissistic feed. Nobody but those who live with them behind closed doors (spouse/children) ever see the darker side of them, and people would never believe the things they are capable of doing within their own families – they rely on this to control those closest to them. I only know this because my mother is one, and funnily enough was a school principal, a job that reinforced her dysfunction no end. An act like this is unfortunately symptomatic of something more sinister than the kind of mental health problems experienced by people without a personality disorder, who would never contemplate doing something like this to a family member, or anyone, regardless of whether they took their own life. It is hard for a community, or even relatively close extended family members like MIL or siblings, to reconcile their impression of a person with an act like this. Look up narcissistic personality disorder and things begin to make a bit more sense. Incredibly sad for this Mum and her three boys.

  • I thought the killer was so praised because he is a teacher. The government needs to cover their back. They need to show that obviously insane person would not be employed as a principal /teacher.

  • A study from the journal “Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law” summarised in the Psychologist reports:
    “A qualitative analysis of the closing remarks made by Australian judges in domestic murder cases found they described husbands who kill their wives in far more forgiving and lenient terms than wives who kill their husbands. For example, men are “stressed” while the women are “wicked””

  • I have to disagree with the comments ..mostly….This is the reason we in Ireland are losing over 500 people every year to Suicide…Society in general dont understand the reasons why people take their own lives or what mental torture leads them there ….so..anything we dont understand we try to find blame so that its less scary and we can say ..”Aw ..he wasnt well etc…that makes it less scary & less likely to hit us in our own homes….But…it is touching ALL our lives and we must face it…We are Not dealing with Mental Health issues as we should in this country and we are paying the price…Instead of playing the Blame Game why dont we ALL get together to stamp out this awful epidemic which is taking our loved ones, unmindful of age. sex or staus…..because the Mind is a very fragile thing & we can all experience traumas in our lives which stretch us to breaking and its only the support of family ,friends & community that can bring us back from the brink….

  • great truth. My daughter pointed this mainstream way of thinking out to me recently when we read about a murder/suicide in Limerick, the man was being portrayed as a lovely guy, my ass. Thank you

  • Thank you for this wonderful article.
    I myself got further than Clodagh as I left 13 weeks before the suicide. Hell on earth for that time with 5 children. Trying to hide, run away from him and wonder what was going to happen next. Being followed and then I find out (at his funeral) we were also in the same boat. (Murder)
    His tribulations of trying to do us all in went astray as he ended up writing letters, notes and sticking post it’s everywhere. Nobody knows what this girl was going through as everyone said about her smile.. she was hiding another life behind her door.
    God bless Clodagh and her Angels.. R.I.P. ❤❤

  • Nope. Many parents with disabled children will go down a similar road because they feel that there’s no hope or help. It happens too often to count. Also Andrea Yates and Gilberta Estrada didn’t kill their children because they had some issue with control. They were mentally ill and needed help that they never got. True many men murder their families because they are violent psychopath and patriarchy cements their domination but it’s not a one-size-fits all phenomenon. This murder is about mental health and how it destroys lives.

  • Thank you for voicing the questions that so many have been asking in the days that followed this tragic attack. I was tired of hearing that the murderer was such a wonderful man, father & valued member of his community. So little was said about Clodagh, my heart goes out to her family and you try not to think about what she and her poor boys had to endure prior to their lives being taken. Mental illness is real, it is cruel but to take the lives of all of you children is beyond me.

  • Imagine this case the other way round. Had it been the woman doing the killing in this case, I am certain we would have seen similar journalism. To focus on children still gets a reaction, because we are not quite as desensitised when it comes to the suffering of children, compared to adult suffering. On top of that, we try to understand motives, so of course the murderer moves into focus. This is logical, as we try to protect ourselves from something like that happening to us too. So this was someone who appears to have been loving and ‘normal’, no record of violence, it seems, which means we are baffled – and scared – as this could mean someone we know, who we’d never expect this from, could do this to us or others we care for. Simple psychology, nothing sinister ‘patriarchal’.

    This case does not (so far) appear to be one of domestic abuse, but even if it would be, domestic violence doesn’t know gender. Males and females are very equal (oh the irony of this word..) when it comes to being abusers, or ending the abused, just that men find it much harder still to gather sympathy. Men who end victims tend to be laughed at, or even accused that in truth they deserved it. Studies prove this, and there are videos showing how the public reacts when confronted with a male being attacked by a woman in the street, compared to the other way round. The woman usually will quickly find support, while males do not.

    Women are not by default victims. Child abuse statistic clearly show mothers leading the sad charge of causing suffering to children, yet this rarely gets highlighted anywhere. If we live ruled by the patriarchy, also in journalism, then why don’t we hear about that all the time? Or is this about women being invisible too when it comes to women committing wrongs themselves?

    I myself have lived through emotional and physical abuse. I know what you feel as a victim, how you try get everything ‘right’, so the other does not turn on you. I know how it feels to love someone, and to try help them, because you sense something is terribly wrong with them, while you forget about your own safety, your own right to live without fear. This isn’t something I know because I am female, but because I am a human who has gone through this, and I feel with anyone out there, female and male alike, who experience this right at this very moment.
    My mother ended deeply depressed, and without aiming for it deliberately, she ended abusing me emotionally, causing heavy traumas, while later in life I ended with an abuser being male, yet just as ill as my mother had been during those years. None of this knows gender…

    Stop making it all about gender. 5 dead, a human tragedy, and certainly nothing anyone should try exploit in favour of ideology, yet instead we need to understand causes, so we can help prevent.

    And no, I do not understand why feminists are so loud and angry. My mother was bullied by feminists, strongly aiding her mental decline, while my masculine father was the one who held on to his wife, even though she turned our world hell for years.

    Nothing is clear cut. Just stop, because you are not aiding victims, but if anything, make it harder for our shared humanity to find solutions for our shared sufferings.

    Thank you for your time.

  • A thoughtful, provocative analysis. My first thought was to have my daughters read it, but then I thought…no my son needs to read it.

    I do take issue with one reference….those cells, that clump of cells, invisible cells…are worthy of being named, too.

  • Excellent article. Thank you for writing it. And for anyone who recognizes herself in this difficult situation, perhaps it is a wake-up call. I am sadly sure that Clodagh was aware of how dangerous her husband was. Yet she probably thought she had time; to make a change, to find freedom.

    And the fact their murderer was laid to rest with them makes me sick. I don’t care that their families thought it best or whatever nonsense they spouted. That was an insult to Clodagh and to her children.

  • I am very touched with your article, moved by the reality of what you wrote. In my experience the level of control within relationships is often more then we see with the invisible eye. We only want to see what we want to see. We might have an responsibility to act when we truly see. This is very scary. My heart goes out to Glodagh and her three boys.

  • Excellent insight. ..really got me thinking about our society..has spurred me on to help women/ children of domestic abuse in some way.

  • Very well written article on such a sad subject. There seems to be an attitude in Ireland still, particularly in the country parts, that a family ‘belongs’ to the father to do with as he pleases which is quite wrong. Also very egotistical of him to think they couldn’t survive without him. I just wonder what this ‘hail fellow well met’ was actually like behind closed doors? And I’m Irish so don’t bother with any ‘racist’ comments. May Clodagh & her children rest in peace. The other one I’ll leave to God. IMHO, very wrong that they were all buried in the same grave, I felt quite sick reading that.

  • I feel this has little to do with patriarchy, and the media is whitewashing this in order to protect local institutions of education and those who work within them. For such individuals are supposed to be ‘responsible’ care-givers (as most are) to our children and their own. The nondiscriminatory presence of dangerous mental illnesses among this cohort of significant others, is a cause for concern to all Stakeholders and casts a dark shadow over the Dep. of Ed. As it is such essential figures in our communities who are supposed to be the overseers of young people’s psychological well-being. Therefore, is it not possible that this has less to do with the aforementioned and more to do with the preservation of institutional hierarchies and power. While protecting the status quo. Furthermore, it is not good PR for the vigorous child protection policies which are currently being implemented. As it raises pertinent questions about those who are employed to up-hold and implement said policies. True, it is a disgrace to all who ignore the life and death of Clodagh Hawe; may she rest in peace along with her boys. But it is also a convenient tool used by the media, to shift dialogue into the populist areas of gender inequality, domestic abuse and other arenas that highlight the evil in men. Evil has no gender! This only further wears away at the very core and essence of society. The Family! While once again distracting from and undermining the wide spread and very serious issues of mental illness in our country. Illnesses which no person is immune to i.e. Lynn Gibbs. Primarily, this is not a feminist issue, an 8th amendment related issue or one of cut and dry domestic violence. This is a national peoples’ issue. And men and women need to come together on all such issues. Demanding real action be taken toward the treatment or better still, prevention of mental illness. By realistically addressing the issues that cause it, where possible. Otherwise nothing will get done, as it is clear that neo-liberal business politicians and media heads, are too busy with other agendas, to care about what has become a national emergency; along with other crises. The stigma around mental health will always prevent people from certain professions seeking help and that in itself is reason to worry. There is no comprehending the dark and evil actions of Alan Hawe. However, blaming patriarchy is useless in this instance and a 50/50 gender split in any organisation won’t fix it. The media is not whitewashing Hawe or ignoring Clodagh for the benefit of either of them…..

  • Very well written and insightful article, Linnea. Clodagh’s ‘missing in action’ identity is indicative of how lazy journalism has become. The speedy headline was the important thing, along with the easily-come-by scanty details about the killer which came from a shocked community. The brutality of the journalism is shown in not, for one moment, considering the abject horror of a slain mother along with her three sons and not mentioning her in the first bulletin, regardless of her name and details not being readily available.

    The most important thing they should have reported was ‘ a mother and her three sons have been murdered’, as it seems to have been evident very early that it was a murder/suicide by the husband/father. That in itself, and in the absence of details, would have at once bestowed Clodagh’s rightful position as the main person, along with her sons, occupying centre-stage in those articles.

    It would have dignified her awful death, it would have prompted us all to empathize with her as a mother and her sons, first and foremost, after which the murderer could be accorded his proper context. Thank you for so succinctly conveying this in your piece and highlighting what will probably come to light in the coming months – that this indeed was a case of domestic abuse.

    I also agree with comments about mental illness being incorrectly portrayed as the culprit by misguided and reckless journalism as being more of a hindrance than any help in trying to come to terms with the causes behind this case. My heart goes out to those left behind in the wake of this horrific situation.
    RIP Clodagh, Liam, Niall and little Ryan