A HEARTBROKEN mother who lost her three sons in a murder-suicide tragedy has appealed for help in raising €13,000 to pay for their funerals.
Helen O'Driscoll issued the appeal as she revealed her devastated Cork family will stage a special memorial today to mark what would have been the 10th birthday of her twins, Patrick 'Paddy' and Thomas 'TomTom' O'Driscoll.
The O'Driscolls are not planning to celebrate Christmas and are simply hoping Cork Co Council will agree to demolish and rebuild their home in light of the tragedy.
Her eldest son, Jonathan (21), who was adopted, took his own life on September 4 less than an hour after the fatal stabbing of his twin brothers.
The nine-year-old twins were discovered with multiple stab wounds in separate bedrooms at their Deerpark home outside Charleville in Cork.
Jonathan had a history of mental health problems.
However, he was deeply frustrated at being unable to access full details of his birth family.
The young man's inability to obtain full details of his adoption file became a source of enormous upset.
Tragically, Helen received a letter from a State agency, addressed to Jonathan, just 48 hours after his death saying the adoption file was being opened.
Now, Helen faces the worry of raising €13,000 to pay for the three funerals - and the ongoing campaign to persuade Cork Co Council to demolish and rebuild their cottage at Deerpark where the two killings took place.
Since September 4, the family have refused to live in the cottage.
"Every day it gets harder. I suppose it is difficult for people to understand this but I woke up on September 4 it wasn't just one child I lost, I lost all three of them," Helen said.
She said that she now dreads the prospect of Christmas and has already decided against putting up a Christmas tree.
Today will be particularly difficult for her because it is the twins' 10th birthday.
"God, I would put my two arms around them and I would never let them go," she said.
The O'Driscoll family said the funeral directors have been exceptionally kind and understanding. But the family do not have the €13,000 to cover three burials and other related costs.
They said they will now welcome any public help.
"There are days you just sit down and look out the window and say 'why, why was it done to me?'. I not only lost my three children, I also lost my home," she said.