Tallaght stabbings: ‘I had to sit my seven-year-old down and tell him two of his friends have gone to heaven’

A man in his 20s has been detained in connection with the violent deaths of three siblings in Tallaght

The quiet avenue of homes in Tallaght, where twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley (8) and their sister Lisa Cash (18) lived their lives, is filled with children.

Throughout Sunday they scooted, cycled and wandered to each other’s homes. They talked quietly, hugged and cried as parents comforted them and each other, following the Cash siblings’ violent deaths in their home, on Rossfield Avenue, on Saturday night.

One woman, leaning against a garden wall, said she couldn’t stop shaking. Her son, she said, played daily with the young twins.

“I had to sit my seven-year-old down this morning and tell him two of his friends have gone to heaven. He asked ‘Why?’ I said, ‘A very bold man hurt them.’


“Christy was lovely, just a lovely little thing,” she says becoming upset. “I’d have little talks to him sitting here on this wall.

“Chelsea was gorgeous – a little cheeky face. She’d walk by and stick her tongue out at you with a smile. This road is full of kids and they’d all congregate in these gardens.”

Another woman remembers Chelsea as “quiet but she’d always say, ‘Hiya’. If you complimented her, it would put a big smile on her face. She always had lovely dresses, all the bows and everything.”

As we speak a boy, aged 14, comes to the door and asks for the woman’s son. As her son appears he embraces him, holding him and crying. He says he saw the incident unfold the previous night. Looking shocked he wipes tears from his face.

Like many of his neighbours, he was awoken by lights, sirens and screaming in the early hours of Sunday. Another woman describes having heard “screaming and glass smashing” at about midnight.

“I came out and there was just guards everywhere screaming: ‘Get down, get down, get down.’ They were shouting about the windows in the house: ‘Top right, top left.’ Then all I heard was ‘The baby. The baby.’ The youngest member of the family, Margaret (22 months), was not hurt in the incident.

It is understood the children’s mother was out while her older daughter babysat. A brother Michael (14) raised the alarm after he jumped from an upstairs, back window as the front door had been barricaded shut.

“A next door neighbour pulled him in over his wall and then they got their aunt, who lives at the other end of the road,” a local resident, a man in his 50s, explained.

He said he had heard screaming at about 11.45pm. “I was in bed. All I could hear was a woman screaming: ‘Can someone help me? Help me.’ Half the road woke up to her screaming.

“The amount of people who were out on the road. Then the guards arrived, and the fire brigade. There was a helicopter for about an hour. They had the spotlights on the windows. He was at the window with the child...

“It is very traumatic for everyone here. For everyone to have seen that, to have felt so helpless. Some of the men are wishing they’d ran in to stop him. The kids, they played with those children.”

Throughout Sunday locals arrived at the nearby Brookfield Youth and Community Centre which opened to provide a space for people to gather and comfort each other.

Local councillor Charlie O’Connor who attended the scene at Rossfield estate on Sunday said he was “on a personal level so shocked”.

“It is going to have a huge effect not only on the neighbours here in Rossfield and Brookfield but in the wider Tallaght area and beyond. It is an event that is going to affect many, many people.

“We have to reach out to the community and support them in any way we can. I am also told that the gardaí who attended the scene last night were also deeply shocked and are receiving support.”

A man in his 20s, arrested at the scene, continued to be detained on Sunday evening under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984, at Tallaght Garda station.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times