Community shock | 

Tallaght stabbings: ‘How do you explain to their friends why they aren’t there any more?’

Tight-knit community in left in deep shock after the horrific deaths of eight-year-old twins and their sister (18)

Lisa Cash (centre) with twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley.

Flowers at the scene of a fatal Incident in Rossfield, Tallaght. Photo: Mark Condren

Twin victims Chelsea and Christy Cawley

Lisa Cash (18)

Forensic gardaí at the scene in Rossfield, Tallaght. Photo: Mark Condren

The house where the horror unfolded. Photo: Mark Condren

Gardaí at the scene in Rossfield, Tallaght. Photo: Mark Condren

Gardaí at the house in the Rossfield estate in Tallaght. Photo: Damien Eagers


Most residents of the Rossfield estate in Tallaght first became aware that something was amiss when they heard screaming and roaring coming from the mid-terraced property on the avenue.

The lights of responding emergency service vehicles also illuminated the area and the true horror of what had occurred soon became evident.

The tight-knit community was yesterday attempting to come to terms with the tragic events that unfolded there shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley (8) were recovered critically injured at the front of the property.

They are believed to have been thrown out of an upstairs window after being stabbed. Their sister Lisa Cash (18) was discovered at the bottom of a stairs after suffering knife wounds. All three were pronounced dead.

Lisa Cash (18)

As gardaí continued to carry out their inquiries, many neighbours stood outside their homes yesterday and watched on in disbelief as they tried to comprehend the horror that unfolded there just hours earlier.

Throughout the day, residents lined up to lay floral tributes near the house where the killings happened, as young children played on their bicycles nearby.

Some children had also drawn posters to remember the three siblings. One garda posted at the cordon helped children stick the drawings on a pillar. One read: “You were a really good friend.” “Fly high,” read another, and another simply stated: “RIP.”

One local man said he came out of his house to hear a female screaming for help and gardaí shouting at the suspect to drop his weapon.

Flowers at the scene of a fatal Incident in Rossfield, Tallaght. Photo: Mark Condren

The resident, becoming emotional, also said that he witnessed one child being dropped to the ground from an upstairs window.

“I wouldn’t have known the older girl, but the youngest were always around playing, they were there only the other day,” the man said as he pointed to the road.

“They were great – just like any other kids around. And now. It’s not right doing that to kids. How do you explain to their friends and the ones in school why they aren’t there any more? It’s just hard to understand what’s happened.”

Chelsea and Christy, who had recently celebrated their first communion, were pupils at the nearby St Aidan’s primary school. In a statement, the school said it was “deeply saddened” by the tragedy.

Forensic gardaí at the scene in Rossfield, Tallaght. Photo: Mark Condren

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the deceased,” the school said.

“As a school, our priority will be to take every step to ensure that the needs of our students and their families are met at this challenging time.

"We will be providing support to pupils and school staff to help them deal with this tragedy, and have requested the support of the National Education Psychological Service in this respect.”

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Charlie O’Connor said he started receiving calls early yesterday morning as details of the tragedy emerged.

“I was deeply shocked, the community is shocked, we have to obviously think of the family and sympathise with the family, and hope they get all the support they need,” he said. “I understand gardaí on the scene are also deeply shocked, as you’d expect.

“Not only here in Rossfield but the wider Tallaght area, this is a real terrible tragedy.”

South Dublin Mayor Emma Murphy described the loss of three young lives as an “unfathomable and horrific” tragedy.

As the family and community mourn, the garda investigation will continue to try to establish how, and why, this tragedy happened.

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