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Answers needed St Patrick’s Mental Health Services call for independent investigation into treatment of Deirdre Morley

'It is imperative that we identify what can be learnt from this tragic event'

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Deirdre Morley with husband Andrew McGinley and children Conor, Darragh and Carla.

Deirdre Morley with husband Andrew McGinley and children Conor, Darragh and Carla.

Deirdre Morley with husband Andrew McGinley and children Conor, Darragh and Carla.

St Patrick’s Mental Health Services where Deirdre Morley spent a period of time as a service user has issued a statement supporting the call for an "independent inclusive investigation” into her treatment.  

The service expressed its "heartfelt condolences to the family of Carla, Darragh and Conor McGinley on their unbearable loss".

“Given the court verdict, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services supports the call for an independent inclusive investigation into Ms Morley’s treatment, and any other factors which may be pertinent to this tragic event," the statement reads.

“St Patrick’s Mental Health Services is committed to the provision of the highest quality mental healthcare, including adhering to the highest human rights and child protection principles.

"It is imperative that we identify what can be learnt from this tragic event.

"This includes fully and sensitively investigating if anything could have been done to prevent the deaths of three innocent children, and to help avoid any family in the future suffering a similar fate.”

The statement was issued following the heart-breaking interview broadcast last night, in which Andrew McGinley had "so many unanswered questions that I hope the professional services who were treating her can answer".

Recorded in May 2020, the Prime Time interview revealed Mr McGinley to be a man without anger over the events of more than two years ago, although he struggles to “break that connection between (his wife) and what happened”.

He described the three children he lost when his wife Deirdre Morley killed them in their Dublin home on January 24, 2020, as “very happy kids”.

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Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley. Pics from Twitter - Conor’s Clips ,

Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley. Pics from Twitter - Conor’s Clips ,

Conor, Darragh and Carla McGinley. Pics from Twitter - Conor’s Clips ,

“They were three great friends,” he said of Conor, 9, Darragh, 7, and Carla, 3.

“Everybody says, ‘I don’t know what you say to you’ , so I say, ‘start with hello and we’ll take it from there’.”

The McGinley family lived in the village of Newcastle, Dublin where the interview was recorded and where Andrew shared family photos and home videos of the children.

“We had chosen the name Conor because we knew he was going to be a Conor when he was born,” he said of his eldest son.

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“I’ll never forget bringing him up to the bedroom, he was about two years old, and I built a fort in the bedroom for him. And his imagination just sparked, with the sheets up and me and him under the covers. And then with Lego after that and all the stories. He didn’t have much interest in television as a kid. It was always books and Lego.”

Two years later Darragh arrived and “all the pristine books that Conor would have kept started getting wear and tear with Darragh who wasn't as careful. You might call him the typical second child, a bit of a whirlwind and I think a bit more of a mischievous streak.

“But they were the best of buds,” Andrew insisted.

“And I think over the years I remember five or six blowouts between the two of them and literally 10 or 15 minutes later and they were best buds again. They really got on like a house on fire.”

Then there was Princess Carla, “who certainly tried to rule the roost but the two boys had their ways of getting around her. They loved her and they were three great friends. They were really happy kids because I think they were such great friends. They were magnificent kids.”

On Friday, January 24, 2020, Andrew was on his way home from work when he received a phone call from his neighbour. His wife, Deirdre, was collapsed in front of their house.

Minutes later, he arrived at their housing estate in Newcastle, Co Dublin, to see medics attending to his wife.

At first, he assumed that his children were with the family's child-minder. But when he contacted her to check in on them, she told him that they were not, in fact, with her.

When Andrew looked over at his house, it was clear no one was home.

"The house was in darkness. You start dreading," he told Prime Time.

"I was just hoping when I opened the door that I would just hear the television and they’d all just be sitting in watching a film.

“I opened the door and found Conor first. The fire brigade had been attending the scene outside and they came in with me and we found Darragh and Carla as well. It’s somewhat surreal when your house becomes a crime scene. I was outside and you just don’t know what to do or what to say to anybody. I've some very good neighbours, they were really so good to me, and the support of everybody in the estate in Newcastle helped me through.”

All three of Andrew’s children had been suffocated to death by their mother.

At the graveyard Andrew said he “just wanted to help lower the kids into the ground. I don't know why, but it was important to me to help lower the children into the ground in the graveyard.”

But he adds: “I've made a conscious decision not to go up every day because I didn't want to get to stage where I was going every day. And then for some reason or not, I couldn't go, and it would sort of be a big thing. Some days I do find great comfort and then some days no.”

As part of the eulogy to his children Andrew had made a promise to each of them.

He promised Conor he would start the YouTube channel he had been planning. Andrew found a camcorder after they passed away that had footage filmed over three weeks which brought him some comfort. He put up the family recordings that he called Conor's Clips.

“It’s been a great project to keep their memory alive,” he added.

For Darragh he promised him he would become a coach, “so for the last few weeks I've been up coaching with Rathcoole boys. Darragh was always involved in everything so for me the promise was to try and get people involved more. What I'm hoping to do for Darragh is an initiative around encouraging people to participate in their community.”

As for Carla, “she just wanted a snowman. She couldn't figure out how you make a snowman and then one day it just started snowing. It wasn't a whole heap of snow, but we managed to gather enough for a (small) snowman. She was fascinated that this stuff to make snowmen come out from the sky. I promised her that when it would snow we'd make a bigger snowman.”

On Thursday, a jury of 10 men and two women returned a verdict in his wife’s murder trial: not guilty by reason of insanity.

During the trial, expert medical witnesses told the jury that Deirdre Morley had suffered from a depressive illness that had worsened in the months before the tragic night. And she had become psychotic.

When asked if he would be able to forgive, Andrew said: “I know that it wasn't Dee in her right mind who took the children's lives. I'll never be able to disassociate her from what happened, so I'm going to struggle with that every single day I really am.”

Speaking in a follow up interview after the trial, Andrew said the verdict of insanity “was one that I agree with. And I would have to say thank you to the jury because they would have had a difficult task. I have to believe it was insanity, I can't think of any other way for the kids to have died.

“But it's understanding now is what's left for me. Everybody will know Dee as a loving mother and you know at work she was a professional, caring nurse. How did she go from being that person to somebody taking the lives of their children.

“I can accept that was caused by insanity but I’ve so many unanswered questions that I hope the professional services who were treating her can answer.

“It will help me understand a bit more but I can't be angry, the kids wouldn't want me to be angry, the kids never saw me angry and I was never angry with the kids.

“I don't want to be angry but I do need answers and I want to move forward positively, keeping the kids’ memories alive.”

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