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Painful loss Andrew McGinley says 'Every morning my first thought is that the kids are no longer here'

Medium helped grieving dad Andrew find some peace as he mourns deaths of his children

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Doting Dad Andrew McGinley with his children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3)

Doting Dad Andrew McGinley with his children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3)

Doting Dad Andrew McGinley with his children Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3)

ALTHOUGH his sadness is palpable, with tears never far from welling up in his kind eyes, Andrew McGinley today reveals that his drive to keep his children's memories alive gives him the strength to get out of bed in the mornings.

On the night of Friday, January 24 last year, Andrew's world changed forever when he arrived at his home in Newcastle, Co. Dublin, to a scene of horror.

His three beautiful children, Conor (nine), Darragh (seven) and Carla (three), were all dead, having been smothered by their mother, Andrew's wife, Deirdre Morley.

Ms Morley, a paediatric nurse, was this year found not guilty of their murders by reason of insanity and committed to the Central Mental Hospital.

As he struggled to find a light in the darkness, Andrew decided to dedicate his life to fulfilling promises he'd made to the children he worshipped, and to keeping their names up in lights.

"These were promises that came into my head literally hours after they had died, that I knew I hadn't got around to keeping, so it's what drives me on," Andrew told the Sunday World yesterday.

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Andrew McGinley and wife Deirdre with children Conor, Darragh and Carla

Andrew McGinley and wife Deirdre with children Conor, Darragh and Carla

Andrew McGinley and wife Deirdre with children Conor, Darragh and Carla

Andrew also announced yesterday that Irish superstar Daniel O'Donnell is to perform a two-hour concert for his new charity, As Darragh Did, in Newcastle Community Centre on June 2, 2022.

Since losing his three children, Andrew has spent his time promoting them on social media and organising the charity in Darragh's name. It's what helps him make it through the day.

"Every morning when the alarm goes off my first thought is that the kids are no longer here," Andrew tells me. "As soon as I open my eyes it's the first thing I think about. It's the hardest part of the day. But it's the projects I'm doing that allow me to put one foot out, and then the other foot out, and get out of bed and get going. That's how important they have become to me, those projects.

"I think you have to find your own way through grief. What I'm doing is right for me because it gets me out of bed. The projects really drive me on and that's why the fundraiser is so important to me.

"I tried counselling, but all I was doing was going and talking, and I was doing that with family and friends anyway. There is no remedy. You have to work through what has happened yourself. We all approach things differently."

Meeting him in person, it's clear that Andrew has a long road ahead in his journey through grief.

"I loved being a father," he says. "I absolutely loved being a dad. I think when you bring kids into this world, you're bringing them in to enjoy life. You only get one life and you want to give it your best shot.

"Maybe I was a big kid myself, but I just enjoyed rolling around, wrestling with them, playing football or building Lego.

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Andrew McGinley pictured at the funeral mass of his children

Andrew McGinley pictured at the funeral mass of his children

Andrew McGinley pictured at the funeral mass of his children

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"Carla used to use me as her guinea pig. I'd have to sit down and be fed all sorts of concoctions out of her little toy kitchen. I'd be reading stories to them and putting on the funny voices and I just loved all of that."

Andrew, who admits to being "neither religious nor spiritual", tells how a medium finally helped him find some peace and comfort in his life after months of struggle with his grief.

"Darragh's birthday was the first sort of milestone after they had died," he says. "His birthday is in April and I found that tough. And then there was Conor's birthday, and my own day, Father's Day, ended up being the worst day. I spent it with friends, but I was in a trance to be quite honest, and not in a good trance. There were a lot of days when I just couldn't shake the sadness and I dreaded Christmas coming up."

Then a medium in Wexford was suggested to him by several people. He rang her without giving his full name or details.

She said, 'Can you come down to see me next week? I have a feeling I need to speak to you with some urgency.' So that sent a few tingles up the spine.

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Tragic siblings Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley at play

Tragic siblings Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley at play

Tragic siblings Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley at play

"So I went down to see her. She put on her glasses and she looked at me, and the next thing she was looking all around me as though something was going on. And then she said, 'You have more spirits with you than anyone I have ever read.'

"I'm thinking to myself, is this some sort of a wind up? Does she say this to everybody? But then she told me about a dozen things that nobody else would know, except me and the kids. She was able to tell me word for word a secret that Darragh told me about two weeks before he died.

"And there was a raft of other stuff, but in the middle of it all - and I'm savvy enough to know that this could be just the medium talking - she said, 'The kids want you to be happy. You were always happy and they want you to be happy.'

"Now I carry that with me, or at least I try to do. So, either the kids did tell her that or she was just being very nice, either way that's what I'm living by now. It's kind of a pursuit of happiness."

Andrew has set up a Conor's Clips YouTube channel where he posts short family videos and supports it with photographs on Instagram and Twitter. Conor had asked his dad for a YouTube channel just months before he died.

He will also launch a colouring competition through a poster in the Irish Independent called Snowman for Carla on November 13.

"Carla wanted a snowman, and in November 2019 we got a little flurry of snow and made something about the size of a pint glass," Andrew explains. "I remember her looking at me going, 'I thought snowmen were bigger than this?' I promised her I would do a bigger snowman when it would snow more but, unfortunately, we never got round to building a bigger snowman."

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