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Clodagh Hawe's sister pays tribute to 'golden girl'

Clodagh, her mother and sister
Image caption Clodagh, right, with her mother Mary Coll, left, on her sister Jacqueline's wedding day

The family of Clodagh Hawe, who was killed along with her three children, by her husband Alan, has been speaking about the tragedy and their decision to have his body exhumed.

Thirty-nine-year-old Clodagh and her sons Liam, 14, Niall, 11, and six-year-old, Ryan, were killed by Alan Hawe.

It was an apparent murder-suicide at their home near Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan in August 2016.

All five were buried together in St Mary's churchyard in Castlerahan.

'Cried with relief'

On Wednesday morning at dawn, Alan Hawe's body was exhumed and removed from the cemetery.

Image caption The grave of Clodagh Hawe and her sons Liam, Niall and Ryan after the exhumation
Image caption How the grave looked before exhumation

"I was there when it happened. And as he left the cemetery, the sun broke through the clouds and I cried with relief that he was gone," said Clodagh's younger sister Jacqueline Connolly.

"At least Clodagh and the boys can rest in peace now that he has gone, thank God.

"We have waited for seven and a half months for this to be done. We requested that he would be exhumed."

Image copyright Hawe family
Image caption Alan and Clodagh Hawe, and their sons Liam, Niall and Ryan, had been buried together

Jacqueline Connolly, 36, paid tribute to her late sister and her children.

"I used to call her the golden girl. In my eyes, she never put a foot wrong. She was just lovely. She was always very level headed, more so than me," she said.

"The kids, growing up, were so respectful and all talented in different ways. Liam was athletic, Niall was into building Lego and baking. When Ryan was telling you a story his eyes would be dancing in his head - he was so full of life.

Image caption Clodagh, pictured here with her mother, Mary Coll

"I always think about the day I got married, I talked about Clodagh and what a wonderful sister and mother she was.

"Clodagh was very honest. She always made sure the kids were protected, kept safe and told the truth about everything."

'Family tragedies'

This was not the first tragedy suffered by Clodagh's family. Her brother, Tadhg, took his life in September 2010. Three years later, Jacqueline Connolly's husband, Richie, also took his life.

In a statement, the family of Alan Hawe said that they had agreed to a request from Clodagh's mother and sister to have his body exhumed.

They said they had not previously been involved in the decision as to where their son was buried.

They referred to the "devastating losses " that they had suffered of their son, grandchildren and daughter-in-law, and added that they hoped that both families would now be left in peace.

The circumstances surrounding the tragedy in 2016 will be the subject of an inquest later this year.

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