McGinley says first HSE meeting after call for investigation a ‘good start’

Dubliner wants wife’s treatment before she killed their three children investigated

Andrew McGinley said he was "pleased" with the HSE's commitment to investigate the mental health treatment received by his wife, Deirdre Morley, before she killed their three children.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Mr McGinley described his first meeting with the HSE as a “good start” as he seeks an investigation into the care of his wife before the killings in January 2020.

“I had called for an inclusive investigation. The HSE has advised me that they would look at doing an independent review,” he said.

Ms Morley was found not guilty by reason of insanity of the murders of her sons, Conor McGinley (9) and Darragh McGinley (7) and her daughter Carla McGinley (3). Their bodies were discovered at the family home in Newcastle, Co Dublin on January 24th last year. She had attempted to take her own life after the killings.


A jury accepted the evidence by two psychiatrists that Ms Morley was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the killings. A Central Criminal Court judge committed Ms Morley to the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) on Tuesday.

Mr McGinley said he and his wife needed to be included in the independent review of her treatment but this would be a “difficulty” now that she was in the CMH.

“I have advised that they meet with Deirdre now. It will be a challenge but I am happy to engage fully with it, as is Deirdre,” he said.

His wife had given her consent for her medical files to be shared, he said.

He declined to say who he met within the HSE but it was “near enough top tier”.

He said the HSE was also going to liaise with St Patrick’s Mental Health Services in Dublin where Ms Morley was treated before the killing of her children.

The 44-year-old clinical nurse suffered a mental health breakdown in July 2019 and was admitted to St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin as an inpatient for four weeks.

The Dublin mental health service has previously said it supported the call for an independent inclusive investigation into Ms Morley’s treatment.

It said it was “imperative” that an investigation was carried out to determine if anything could have been done to prevent the children’s deaths and to stop anything similar happening again.

Greater role for families

Mr McGinley is also campaigning for changes to the 2001 Mental Health Act to have family members or advocates play a greater role in the mental health treatment of a relative.

He will meet Minister of State for Mental Health Mary Butler next week on the matter.

Mr McGinley said he had been unaware of the rapid deterioration in his wife’s mental health or that she had been expressing concerns about being a parent during her treatment.

He believes his children would be alive today if family members had been included in her care.

“There was a number of instances that had we been aware, we know we would have challenged them and the outcomes would have been different,” he said.

“I will say to you 100 per cent: had there been family inclusion, then 100 per cent Conor, Darragh and Carla would be alive today.”

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times