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Bishop Crean calls for prayers for O’Driscoll family

By Sarah Mac Donald - 06 September, 2014

Murder-suicide brothersBishop William Crean has expressed his deepest sympathy to Thomas and Helen O’Driscoll of Charleville on the tragic deaths of their three sons, Thomas, Patrick, and Jonathan.

The Bishop of Cloyne said in a statement on Friday, “I speak for our faith community, and for all people of good will, when I say how shocked and greatly saddened I was to hear of the tragedy that has befallen the O’Driscoll family.”

“Such loss of human life is extremely difficult to comprehend. I pray that the Lord will strengthen the family during this terrible time.”

Bishop Crean urged the priests and people of the diocese of Cloyne to pray for Thomas and Helen, for their surviving children, their extended family, and for the community of Charleville.

Nine-year-old twins Thomas and Paddy O’Driscoll were found stabbed at their home at Deerpark in Charleville on Thursday evening.

Their 21-year-old brother Jonathan was later found dead by the bank of a river in Buttevant, around 15km from the family home.

Gardaí are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths of the two boys but they are appealing for witnesses to contact them.

Funeral arrangements for the three brothers will not be finalised until their bodies have been released to the O’Driscoll family.

Fr Tom Naughton of the Holy Cross Parish in Charleville spent about two hours with family members during two visits in the immediate hours after news of the deaths of the three sons broke.

Speaking to RTE Radio, Fr Naughton said, “Shock would be the best word to use.

He said his role was to bring comfort and consolation. “They’re strong people of deep faith which will stand to them in the hours, days and weeks ahead.”

However, he admitted, “It’s the most unnatural thing in the world to see a child dead. To see your own child dead is just unimaginable.”

The priest said that the wider community of Charleville, which he described as “a close-knit and caring community” were shocked.

Recalling a recent visit to the O’Driscoll family, Fr Naughton told RTE Radio 1, “I was visiting their house not too long ago and they are very welcoming people.”

Of his own shock, he acknowledged, “It’s so tragic. It’s very difficult for myself as a priest to get my head around.”

Local school children who attended the same primary school as Thomas and Patrick are being offered counselling.

“The most important thing with children and with everybody this morning is to have a family who loves them close to them. Unfortunately, in life you don’t always understand the depth of the human mind. But kids can grasp things a lot more than we actually give them credit for,” he said.

But the priest added that it will take “time more than anything else to bring some sort of healing” after what has occurred.

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