In the aftermath of Hawe family inquest

 

Sir, – The gruesome reports of the Hawe family tragedy are, unfortunately, yet another chapter in the long and horrifying list of homicide-suicides within Irish families – Wexford, Charleville, Ballycotton, Cobh.

The single, common factor in every case was the presence of serious mental illness in the perpetrator – a “disease of the mind”, as Lord Denning once described it.

In order to better understand – and thereby prevent – these preventable deaths, is it not now essential for the Government to set up a system for comprehensive inquiry into all these tragic events, including historical events; to examine all relevant information, establish all the facts, failings or shortcomings, and make appropriate recommendations for future prevention?

This healthy practice is long-established in the UK, where “psychiatric” homicide ie, by those involved with healthcare services, is subject to an official inquiry in every instance – and needs urgent introduction in this country as an emergency, public, mental health initiative. – Yours, etc,

Dr PATRICK O’BRIEN,

Consultant Psychiatrist,

Birmingham,

England.