Murder-suicide family laid to rest among hundreds of mourners
Hundreds of mourners turned out in Castlerahan, Co. Cavan, on Saturday for the funeral of the Hawe family who died last week in a suspected murder-suicide.
The five family members were found dead at their home at Oakdean in Barconey near Ballyjamesduff on August 29. Gardai believe that Alan Hawe killed his wife, Clodagh, and their three sons, Liam, Niall and Ryan, before taking his own life. Both his and Mrs Hawe’s relatives said they felt that the family should all be buried on the same plot. Their remains were brought to St Mary’s Church in five separate hearses and their coffins were carried in by members of the local community. Fr Felim Kelly, the local parish priest and mass chief celebrant, said that the families of Clodagh and Alan were “united in support and brokenness”.
He explained how the community was trying to cope with such a tragic event and questioned how the wholesomeness of the Hawe family could have been destroyed, and their happiness invaded. Fr Kelly made no reference during the service to Mr Hawe having murdered his wife and children. The priest recalled how he had paid a visit to the family home one Christmas morning, and noted how happy they all seemed.
“I knew I was calling to see close friends and knew the welcome,” he said. “Clodagh with her scones, red jam and a mug of coffee; Liam, Niall and Ryan busily, like budding engineers, building all kinds of Lego; Alan standing with his back to the kitchen sink, totally at ease, enjoying the antics of unspoiled and respectful sons.”
He added that Mr and Mrs Hawe had been readers at the church, while Liam and Niall had been altar boys and all three children were members of the choir. Gifts were placed on the coffins during the service – a family photograph, a Kilkenny jersey, a basketball, trophy and teddy bear. Seating in the isolated Catholic church had been reserved for family and close friends, with proceedings broadcast via loudspeaker for those outside. After the mass, the family were buried outside in the adjoining cemetery.
Before the service, mourners were asked to make a donation to one of Ireland’s leading suicide charities, Pieta House. Those who still wish to make a donation are requested to forward it to this charity, which provides therapy service for those in suicidal distress.