herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Scale of murder-suicide here is shocking

The murder-suicide of the twin boys Paddy and Thomas O'Driscoll (9) and their brother Jonathan (21) shocked the whole country.

We can only imagine the heartbreak and anguish felt by their parents Thomas and Helen.

To lose a child is every parent's worst nightmare, but to lose three in such an appalling tragedy is beyond comprehension.

This tragedy highlights once again the alarming rise in cases of murder-suicide in Ireland.

Little over a month ago, nine-year-old Brandon Skeffington was murdered in his family home in Sligo by his older brother Shane (20), who then took his own life.

Over the last ten years, we have also witnessed the horrific rise in the numbers of parents who have killed their children before taking their own lives.

Since 2000, some 38 Irish children have died at the hand of their parents in Ireland.

expertise

I share the view of former senior garda Martin Donnellan, who believes that more research needs to be conducted into these cases.

At this point gardai do not have the resources or, very often, the expertise to conduct in-depth investigations into the causes of such murder-suicides.

In many of these cases it subsequently emerges that the killers were mentally unstable and were in treatment or on medication.

More research into the causes of these tragic crimes must be undertaken if we are to prevent further unspeakable tragedies like that which unfolded in Charleville last week.

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