Law blocking people who kill partners from profiting through inheritance laws to be introduced

The Government will introduce major inheritance law reforms in the coming weeks in a bid to ensure people who kill their partners are blocked from profiting from their crimes.

Law blocking people who kill partners from profiting through inheritance laws to be introduced

The Government will introduce major inheritance law reforms in the coming weeks in a bid to ensure people who kill their partners are blocked from profiting from their crimes.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan committed to introducing what he said will be "Celine's law" in response to widespread public concern over the consequences of tragic cases in light of the deaths of Celine Cawley and Clodagh Hawe.

After a special cabinet meeting on international women's day, Mr Flanagan said the potential new law is at an advanced stage and will be tabled in the Dáil in the coming weeks.

Noting the serious concerns over succession and inheritance laws when someone kills their partner, the Justice Minister said changes are needed in light of the recent high-profile murders: “I want to acknowledge the important piece of legislation that will be amending the Succession act, in order to ensure that nobody benefits from crime. I would expect to advance matters over the course of this [St Patrick's Day] break.”

Mr Flanagan was speaking as Fianna Fáil put further pressure on Government to act on the matter by saying the Cabinet must introduce new domestic violence review laws when someone is killed.

The party's justice spokesman, Jim O'Callaghan, and equality spokeswoman, Fiona O'Loughlin said there is a pressing need to pass their domestic violence amendment bill.

Clodagh Hawe
Clodagh Hawe

The Fianna Fáil bill, if passed, will ensure "domestic homicide" reviews are created to allow the sitting justice minister of the time to order a special examination if a person appears to have died as a result of violence or abuse by a relative or partner.

Mr O'Callaghan said the potential new law mirrors a similar system in place in Britain since 2011: "This bill has its origins in the tragic events that happened back in August 2016 when Clodagh Hawe and her three sons were murdered, and also has its origins in the very moving interview that Clodagh's mother and sister gave to Claire Byrne I think around 10 days ago."

"Although the crime of familicide has happened in Ireland, we really have not adequately responded to it. Traditionally what happens is when tragic murders, such as that, happen, the gardaí go to the place of the crime and they quickly go to the person responsible to see if they are also dead. Consequently, the only statements that are taken by an Garda Síochána are statements in respect of the people who discovered the tragic scene when they entered the house," Mr O'Callaghan explained.

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