Taoiseach: Government will consider proposals for inquiry into Hawe murders

Taoiseach: Government will consider proposals for inquiry into Hawe murders
The Hawe family.

The Government will consider proposals for a full inquiry into the murder of Clodagh Hawe and her three sons and will seek new research into the matter of familicides in Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made the commitments as he also said families must get details sooner - Ms Hawe's relatives had to wait 16 months for the release of her husband's suicide letter.

The plight of her family was raised in the Dáil following their appearance on RTE's Claire Byrne Show in which they spoke of their heartache and outstanding questions over the brutal murders.

Clodagh Hawe and her sons Liam, 13, Niall, 11 and Ryan, 6 were killed by Alan Hawe in August 2016 in Virginia, Cavan. Alan Hawe then took his own life.

Opposition leaders raised their concerns during Leaders Questions, with calls for a full investigation, for joined-up thinking among State agencies and for a change to existing laws.

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, said Ms Hawe's family has shown great “courage and bravery" coming forward.

There are “many disturbing elements” to their story, he told the Dáil.

Such brutal killings require a comprehensive response from State agencies and the family also want the full book of evidence into the killings published, he added.

The husband's suicide note should have been released earlier to the family, Mr Martin also said.

“Will the Taoiseach ensure that genuine indigenous research is commissioned on this very difficult issue of familicide in Ireland?

"Will he agree to develop a multidisciplinary action plan to guide State agencies in terms of a response to any such events in the future?” asked Mr Martin.

Mr Varadkar said Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will accept a submission from the family and will meet them if required.

A response to familicides is also underway, the Dáil heard. This includes reforming the gardai and changing laws.

The Domestic Violence Act, passed last year, also makes coercive control for the first time an offence, he said.

The Government is also assessing requests by the family to review the Succession Act on inheritance and the Coroners Act on burials, he said.

Mr Varadkar said gardaí have a concern about opening up a book of evidence, despite the family's requests:

There is concern that if that was removed it would be harder to convince people to give evidence to the Garda in other cases if they knew that evidence given under privilege could be released later.

However, details should be given to families earlier, he added.

The suggestion for new research into familicides will also be passed onto the National Office for Suicide Prevention, Mr Varadkar said.

Mr Varadkar said that gardai are currently carrying out a review of cases of domestic homicide to “better inform its approach to domestic violence generally”.

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