Council to demolish house in which young man killed his brothers
‘Nobody in their right mind would ever live in that house’, says boys’ mother, who campaigned for house’s demolition
Jonathan O'Driscoll (22), at back, with his two younger twin brothers, Patrick and Tommy (9).
Parents Thomas and Helen O’Driscoll outside the house in Charleville, Co Cork where their twin boys Patrick and Thomas were killed. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Cork County Council has agreed to demolish a property in Charleville, Co Cork in which a 21-year-old man stabbed his nine-year-old twin brothers to death before ending his own life.
Patrick and Tommy O’Driscoll sustained more than 40 stab wounds each. The wounds were inflicted by their brother Jonathan O’Driscoll, who took his own life shortly afterwards. The bodies of the brothers were found in separate bedrooms at Deerpark, Charleville, shortly after 5pm on September 4th, 2014. The body of Jonathan O’Driscoll was discovered on the same day at the banks of the Awbeg River in Buttevant. Two knives were recovered from the centre of the river.
The council said in a statement that it remains committed to engaging with the O’Driscoll family, with a view to facilitating the demolition of the dwelling.
Helen O’Driscoll, mother of the boys, has campaigned to have the property demolished. In an interview on Cork’s 96FM recently she said it was a tradition in the travelling community that you burned the barrel top wagon that the person died in. She said she left the house because it wasn’t a fit environment for the family.
“I took it upon myself to find another place and move out because I was thinking of my two other small fellas. They were there on the day the tragedy happened and I didn’t think it was an environment for my boys and me. It wasn’t about me or my husband any more. It was about the two boys who were living. I needed to look after their well being and mental health.
“For all three of us I had to go out of it. Nobody in their right mind would ever live in that house. In the travelling community years ago you had a caravan or a wagon and when there was a death the property would be burned. Their souls would go to peace.”
Ms O’Driscoll s added that Jonathan suffered from mental health issues and that she forgives him for his actions.
“I had Jonathan for years before I had the boys and there is something about your first child. To me all three of them were my babies and all three of them always will be my babies. It was just horrific the way things happened.”
Cork County Council is in the process of rehousing the family in a nearby property, with the O’Driscolls currently living in rented accommodation.
The jury at an inquest into the deaths of the boys returned an open verdict. They ruled a suicide in the case of Jonathan.
Jonathan, the eldest of the five O’Driscoll children, had collected his four younger brothers, Paddy, Thomas, Jimmy (five) and Martin (four) from creche at 3.15pm on the day of the tragedy. He brought them to the park and bought them sweets before driving them home. The alarm was raised that afternoon by the younger boys.