Family of double murder-suicide brothers raising money for mental health services

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Daughter of Paddy Hennessy hopes that open discussion of tragedy may help others

Brothers Willie and Paddy Hennessy, pictured in 2009. The men died along with another brother, Johnny, in a double murder-suicide in Curraghgorm, Co Cork in February. Photograph: Seán Burke/Provision

The family of three brothers who died in a double murder-suicide earlier this year plan to raise funds for a foundation which provides counselling to people in distress.

Elaine Hennessy, who lost her father and two uncles in the tragedy, is also pleading with members of the public not to “bottle up” their emotions.

The bodies of Willie Hennessy (66) and Paddy Hennessy (60) were found at the family home at Curraghgorm on the outskirts of Mitchelstown on February 26th.

The body of their younger brother Johnny (59) was recovered from the nearby river Funshion a few hours later.

Now the families of the deceased are trying to raise awareness of mental health issues. Elaine Hennessy, daughter of Paddy, told the Cork Today Show on C103 FM that, along with local mental health campaigner Carmel O’Gorman, she and other members of the Hennessy family will hold a sleep-out this weekend.

Members of the group will light lanterns at 5.30am on Saturday, May 1st in memory of those who have lost their lives to mental health issues. Ms Hennessy hopes that talking about what has happened and highlighting the issues may help another person or family.

“In your wildest dreams nobody would imagine that something so horrific would happen to lovely people. It is surreal,” said Ms Hennessy.

“I want anyone who is suffering out there to get help. I have been in counselling myself and it is so important to talk. If you don’t talk your body takes a toll. It places a strain on your body. Talking about it helps. You don’t realise the weight it lifts until you do talk. Especially for men.”

The Hennessy family have had previous experience of tragedy. Nine years ago Paddy lost his 21-year-old son, Paudie, to suicide. Two years after that, the brothers lost their 57-year-old brother, Jer, to suicide.

If you are affected by any issue in this article, please contact Pieta House on 1800 247247 or the Samaritans by phoning 116123 (Free), or emailing

Donations can be made to the Hennessy Family mental health appeal at

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