The mother of the twins stabbed to death by their brother near Charleville has today spoken about the tragic events, urging young people with mental health problems to seek help.
A small community outside of Charleville in north Cork was left reeling last month after the deaths of young boys, Patrick and Tommy O’Driscoll (aged 9), who were killed by their older brother Jonathan (aged 21).
Jonathan then drove 15km from their home and took his own life.
Helen O’Driscoll told Mark Cagney and Sinead Desmond on Ireland AM this morning that she forgives Jonathan, who she adopted as a baby with her husband Thomas because they were told they could not conceive - however years later Helen became pregnant with twins Patrick and Tommy.
“I forgive Jonathan for the simple reason being, I know what he did, God help us, was wrong and as far as I am concerned he took the only two people in this world that was near to him and that he loved and that he used to play with and teach things to and everything, but it wasn’t my Jonathan that took the boys that day because I was talking to him at half past four and I was talking to Michael and Paddy and they were the happiest two children in the world,” she said
“So as far as I’m concerned it was just something that snapped and it wasn’t Jonathan doing what was done.”
Helen said that in recent years Jonathan had been searching for his birth parents and siblings but became increasingly frustrated when this did not work out.
She said she encouraged him to see a doctor as she was worried for his mental health and he took her advice, but sadly circumstances still took a turn for the worst.
“I know a lot of people say different things about him and how bad he was to do this but they can sit down and say that but they don’t know what my son went through,” she said.
“They don’t know what went on in that half an hour or whatever in his mind and then to realise that he had to go away and do harm to himself at the end of it all. That’s an awful load on someone’s heart.”
With two younger sons aged three and four, Helen refuses to go back into the house where Patrick and Tommy were killed.
She is hoping “the council might knock it and rebuild a new house” as she does not want to move away from the place that holds so many dear memories also.
“If they don’t knock it and rebuild it, I won’t be going back into it the way that it is,” she said.
“No one in their right mind would. How do they expect me to go back into that house when two of my little children were done at each side of it? Not just at the one side of it, one fella was done here and the other fella was done at the far side.”
Helen urged young people struggling with mental health issues to talk to someone, whether it be a friend, a doctor or to pick up the phone and call a helpline.
The Samaritans' 24-hour helpline number is: 116 123