herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Six years on, every day is a struggle without our Rachel

GRIEF: Family in double tragedy marks anniversary of mum's murder

The family of murdered mum-of-two Rachel O'Reilly have marked the sixth anniversary of her death with a mass, just two weeks after they also buried her only sister Ann.

Still reeling from the loss of both their daughters and sisters, the family came together to support each other in their grief.

Rachel (30) was murdered by her husband Joe at their home in the Naul in North Dublin on October 4, 2004. He is serving life for beating her to death.

Today her father Jim Callaly told the Herald that although the family remembers Rachel all the time, the anniversaries always bring back a lot of sad memories because that is the date when she was taken from them.



Comfort

"Every day is a struggle, especially since we lost Ann," said Jim. "It's hard to believe it is six years since Rachel. We just take one day at a time. We get up in the morning and do what we can.

"Night time is the worst, especially the long nights, when you waken and you start to think about things again."

The Callalys held an anniversary mass in their home on Collins Avenue yesterday evening, inviting family and friends to attend.

"We will be praying for Ann as well. It's very hard," said Jim.

"The only comfort we have is that Ann and Rachel are in the same grave, and hopefully in heaven together. We like to think of them trying to help us."

Ann (32) died on September 17 after a brave battle with cancer.

Not long after Joe O'Reilly was convicted in 2007, it was revealed that Ann was receiving treatment for a tumour behind her eye.

In her book, Remembering Rachel: The story of Rachel O'Reilly's Life and Brutal Death, Rachel and Ann's mother Rose wrote of the essential support that Ann had provided to the family during the ordeal.

Ann's last public appearance was in November 2009 when she sat alongside her father in the audience of The Late Late Show during an interview with her mother.

At the time she talked about how her health had suffered as a result of the stress of her sister's murder.

Earlier this year, in a show of support for their sister, Anthony and Paul Callaly had their heads shaved to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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