Gardaí are treating the death of a family of five at a house in Co Cavan as a murder- suicide.

Teachers Alan and Clodagh Hawe and their three young sons were found dead in the family home in a quiet rural area near the town of Ballyjamesduff yesterday morning. Mr Hawe, in his 40s, was deputy principal at Castlerahan National School in Ballyjamesduff, while Mrs Hawe, in her 30s, was a teacher at Oristown National School in Kells, Co Meath.

The couple’s sons Niall (11) and Ryan (6) were pupils at Castlerahan while their eldest son, Liam (13) was a past pupil.

Both schools issued statements last night saying psychologists from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) were providing support to pupils and staff.

Ms Hawe is originally from Mountnugent, Co Cavan, while Mr Hawe is from Kilkenny.

The alarm was raised when a relative visited the family home at the Oakdene estate, Barconey at 10.45am yesterday morning and became suspicious when they couldn’t gain entry. The relative contacted gardaí in Co Monaghan and two officers who arrived at the scene made the grim discovery.

Coffins are taken to hearses at the scene in Oakdene,Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, Pic: PA.
Coffins are taken to hearses at the scene in Oakdene, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, Pic: PA.

Gardaí suspect Mr Hawe stabbed his wife and his three boys with a knife, before hanging himself.

The three sons were found dead upstairs: two in one bedroom and the eldest boy in a second bedroom.

The parents were discovered downstairs.

Gardaí said the autopsy might provide approximate times of death and indicate if the boys were asleep at the time. Detectives believe Mr Hawe was solely involved in the killings.

Gardaí treating death of a family as murder-suicide

“We believe all the answers are within that house,” Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll told a press briefing.

Gardaí last night said Mr Hawe had no involvement with the police.

“There is no history of any sort, absolutely nothing, nothing like domestic violence or anything,” said one source.

Hearses leaves the scene at Oakdene, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, where a family of five were found dead in their countryside home. Pic: PA.
Hearses leaves the scene at Oakdene, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, where a family of five were found dead in their countryside home. Pic: PA.

Members of the family were last seen alive on Sunday, and nothing at that stage had raised concern suggesting that such an event might take place.

Married for 15-years, Alan and Clodagh Hawe were well-known in the community. Mr Hawe was heavily involved in community sports and with Castlerahan GAA club, where he was joint treasurer and his three sons played.

Gardaí said the investigation was starting from “scratch” in terms of motive.

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