Domestic violence a factor as homicide rate here almost doubles to 43 this year
Number of unlawful deaths at the highest level since 2018
December 30 2022 02:30 AM
An alarming rise in killings of women and children has contributed to the homicide rate almost doubling this year.
There have been 43 people who died in unlawful killings this year so far, compared with 22 the previous year.
The aftermath of the pandemic may have played a factor and has led to warnings about a rise in domestic violence and abuse.
The number of unlawful deaths in Ireland is now at its highest since there were 47 killings in 2018.
However, while there was a spate of deaths linked to gangland crime in previous years, this year there has been a concerning rise in killings of women and children with absolutely no links to criminality.
An analysis of those deaths by the Irish Independent shows that 30pc of the unlawful killings during 2022 were of females.
Eleven of those were women over the age of 18, and two were children.
Among the deaths this year was that of Ashling Murphy (23) in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on January 12.
Violent Deaths hit 43 in 2022
It brought public outcry, and reignited a national debate about the safety of women in Ireland.
Women’s Aid has said the statistics confirm that 2022 was “a terrible year for violence against women, both in Ireland and globally”.
“Garda figures show that domestic violence-related crimes including murder are increasing. In Iran and Afghanistan women and girls’ rights, hopes and dreams are being violently trampled upon, just as 11 women’s lives have been cut short through violence here,” said Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid.
“Factors including misogyny and structural inequality that broadly enable this are universal. We must all rally for gender equality and against all male violence, for women to be granted their full potential,” she added.
One factor which contributed to the high number of unlawful killings this year was two instances where a number of family members died together in suspicious circumstances.
On September 4, Lisa Cash (18) and her twin siblings, Chelsea and Christy Cawley (8), were stabbed in Rossfield, Tallaght. One man has been charged with murder.
Just five days later, Michael Dennany (2) and his sister Thelma (5) died in a suspicious car fire in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath. Their mother was charged with murder.
The youngest person to die in suspicious circumstances was 11-month-old Vincent Donohoe in Clonee on the Dublin border with Meath on November 8.
It is suspected that he was given a lethal injection of insulin. His mother was also found dead in the house with him. It is believed she took her own life. Gardaí are not looking for anyone else in relation to the tragedy.
The oldest person to die in suspicious circumstances was Ruth Lohse (88) who died in a house fire in Donegal on April 12. Her son has since been charged with her murder.
Thirty of the homicides this year were of males, while 13 were females. Five of the deaths were children under the age of 18.
Women who died included Sandra Boyd, who was shot dead in Collins Place, Finglas, on March 19. Her brother Derek Boyd (27) later pleaded guilty to her unlawful killing.
Lisa Thompson (52) was fatally stabbed at home in Ballymun. A man has been charged in relation to her death.
In other cases, nobody has yet been charged, including the case of Miriam Burns (75) who was found dead in her Killarney home last August.
In July music teacher Louise Muckell (54) was found dead at home in Rathkeale, Limerick. It is thought she had been assaulted earlier. No charges have been brought.
In total, 16 of the deaths were attributed to assaults, 15 to stabbings, seven were shootings, three died in fires, one in a suspected poisoning, and one death was vehicular.
In 15 of the killings (35pc) there have been no charges, but in the remaining 28, charges were brought or gardaí are not looking for suspects.
In April there were two fatal stabbings within two days in Sligo town when Aidan Moffitt (42) and Michael Snee (58) were both killed. One man has been charged in relation to both deaths.
In the period after the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel in 2016, gangland killings rose dramatically.
The Kinahan/Hutch feud intensified, contributing to a total of 48 deaths in 2017 and 47 deaths in 2018.
Yet this year the number of killings which were linked to gangland crime was just three.
James Whelan (29) was shot dead on April 3 in Finglas.
Gary Carey (41) was shot in a hotel car park in Kilmainham in June and died in August.
Cormac Berkeley (34) was shot in Clondalkin on December 5.