There has been an outpouring of support for Clodagh Hawe, 39, who was killed by her husband, Alan Hawe, 40, in the Cavan murder-suicide last Monday.
The hashtag #hernamewasClodagh began circulating on social media earlier this week as media reports emerged carrying comments about Mr Hawe’s nature from neighbours and friends.
However, there was little information available about Clodagh or her three children Liam, 13, Niall, 11, and Ryan, 6, who were also killed by Mr Hawe.
Clodagh, a primary school teacher, who taught in Kells, Co Meath, was described as not being “mad outgoing”, but when “one-on-one she’d talk for hours”. Despite reading at Mass in Castlerahan, she was not as “involved” in community events as her husband, family neighbour Larry McGinn told the Irish Examiner on Tuesday.
The hashtag began trending on Wednesday with social media users stating that she had become “invisible”.
The Guardian headlined one article about the case: ‘How a murdered woman became invisible in the coverage of her death’.
Roy Greenslade, its media commentator, wrote: “And in searching 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’.”
A blog post by writer Linnea Dunne on her website was shared widely on Wednesday, spawning the hashtag. The post was titled ‘Rest in peace, invisible woman’.
Ms Dunne wrote: “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?”
However, the grieving families have not rushed to condemn him, with Clodagh’s sister, Jacqueline Connolly, posting a tribute on Facebook last night.
“A bit of truth at last! RIP our wonderful Alan, Clodagh, Liam, Niall and Ryan, we love you all our angels xxxxxx,” she wrote, sharing a news article entitled ‘Cavan deaths: Gardaí focus on mental health of father’.
Meanwhile, the head of Women’s Aid, Margaret Martin, says that some users of its helpline have been triggered by the tragic event in Cavan.
“A couple of women mentioned the case in Cavan when they phoned our helpline. They found it triggering. We are really aware of the amount of women who are afraid because of this case,” said Ms Martin.
“I am not commenting on this case. There is still so much information that we do not know.”
A removal will be held this evening for all five members of the family. Their remains will repose at Finnegan’s Funeral Home, Cavan Town, from 3pm to 8pm.
The funeral will take place in St Mary’s Church, Castlerahan, at 4pm tomorrow.
Gardaí continue to investigate the case.
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