A family of five found dead in their countryside home in Cavan yesterday were most likely victims of a murder-suicide, investigators believe.
The bodies of primary school deputy principal Alan Hawe, aged in his 40s, and his school teacher wife Clodagh, aged in her 30s, and their three sons were discovered at the house near Ballyjamesduff, in Co Cavan.
It is believed the husband and wife were found downstairs at Oakdene Downs in the townland of Barconey, while the boys - Liam aged 13, Niall aged 11, and Ryan aged six - were upstairs in their bedrooms.
Coffins are taken to hearses at the scene in Oakdene, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, Pic: PA.
Garda assistant commissioner John O'Driscoll said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
"We believe all the answers are within that house - so therefore the most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the death of the others," he said.
"All the circumstances will be explored but as it stands at the moment that is the position."
Mr Hawe, believed to be from Co Kilkenny originally, was deputy principal at nearby Castlerahan National School, which was due to start back after the summer break.
Niall and Ryan were both pupils at the school and the eldest boy Liam was a past pupil.
Mrs Hawe, from Co Cavan, taught at Oristown National School in Co Meath.
Locals said the family were out and about in the close-knit community on Sunday and gave no indication that anything was wrong.
"Nothing had happened prior to this grim discovery this morning that gave rise to anyone - including An Garda Siochana - having any suspicion that anything was untoward and this family were engaged with the community and seen yesterday," said Mr O'Driscoll.
"None of the activity and interaction with other people gave rise to any suspicion as to what was to happen."
Investigating gardai, who described the case as very sensitive, have found no evidence that a firearm was used.
A technical examination being carried out at the property - which has been sealed off as a crime scene - and follow up post mortem examinations are expected to give a more definitive answer as to the cause of the deaths.
Hearses leaves the scene at Oakdene, Barconey, Ballyjamesduff in Cavan, where a family of five were found dead in their countryside home. Pic: PA.
A number of objects found in the house are being subjected to "detailed technical examination".
The alarm was raised at around 10:45am today after someone, thought to be a relative, called to the house but got no answer.
Two officers dispatched to the scene from Monaghan Garda station gained entry to the house and made the discovery.
Investigators are continuing to talk to neighbours and the extended family of the victims to piece together clues as to what happened.
The family were well known in the area and involved with the local Castlerahan Gaelic Games Association (GAA) club.
Mr Hawe was a treasurer and fundraiser.
Paddy Smith, a local councillor, said the deaths have been very distressing to all who knew the family.
"This has come as complete and utter shock to everybody in the area and everybody who knew the family because they were a very steady, hard working family," he said.
"It is a complete shock, out of the dark, people are just unable to grasp or comprehend what has happened."
Mr Smith added: "They are a very hard working and tight knit community, people just don't know what to say, they are shell shocked at this terrible tragedy."
Psychologists have been drafted in to assist teachers in both schools in helping pupils deal with the tragedy.
Several hearses arrived at the scene today as the bodies were removed in coffins.
Castlerahan National School and Oristown National School have released statements regarding the death of Alan Hawe, his wife Clodagh and their three children Niall, Ryan and Liam.
Alan and Clodagh were both working teachers at these local schools.
The statement from Castlerahan National School said Alan was a "valued member of our school staff and community" and described the three children as "wonderful children who will be greatly missed by all who knew them."
Niall and Ryan were pupils of the school and Liam was a past pupil.
"This is a terrible tragedy for the family, our school and our community. We are deeply saddened by this event.
"Our sympathy and our thoughts are with the extended family and friends."
The statement from principal Ann O'Kelly of Oristown National School said they were "deeply saddened" by this event.
"Clodagh was a much loved and valued teacher in our school and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
"Our sympathies and thoughts are with Clodagh’s family and friends."
Local Councillor Paddy Smith has said people are shellshocked as to what has happened.
Mr Smith said the family had lived in the area for the past ten years and were members of the local community.
Mr Smith said the family were seen yesterday in a happy state.
According to the local Councillor the mother had local connections in the area and her husband was a hardworking community man.
"No one can understand what has happened, it is a complete mystery. We are all shocked beyond words."
Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Driscoll made this statement during a press conference in Cavan this evening: “We have identified everyone who we believe can be of assistance in this matter and when we have spoken to those people we will have more answers.
“We believe we know everybody that can be of assistance but if there is anyone out there who knows something and they believe that may be of particular relevance to this investigation and we haven't made contact with them, they should contact us here.”
"The most likely scenario is that one person in that house may have caused the death of the others."
"We are not looking for anyone else. We believe all the answers are within the house."
There is no evidence that a firearm was used.
The family are well known in the area. Both the parents are professionals who worked locally and they had been married for 15 years.