Andrew McGinley The world was turned upside down when his wife Deirdre Morley killed their children Conor, 9, Darragh, 7, and Carla, three, in January 2020. The jury for his trial returned a verdict of not guilty of murder for cause of insanity and now he is campaigning for changes to the Mental Health Act. Here, he courageously opens up about his grief on Father’s Day and shares his message of hope for other families:
I guess when I think of Father’s Day, in the past, for me Father’s Day was really just a holiday.
You have a card, usually a homemade card from school or nursery, maybe a chocolate bar or a box of After Eights or something like that.
But your day was the same as the others; bring kids to birthdays or football games.
You would have something planned, the weekend was always when I spent every minute I could with the kids.
It wasn’t a particularly special day for me, but it was still a day when we did something together.
Father’s Day was a bit of a novelty, but not something big on our calendars.
However, I have to admit that last year Father’s Day was one of the most difficult days I have ever encountered.
I had Darragh’s birthday in May, then Conor’s birthday after that, then my birthday, and then Father’s Day.
Birthdays are a once in a lifetime occasion and they are not in the media.
But with Father’s Day, it’s advertised on television, on the radio, in the newspapers.
I thought I was ready for Father’s Day last year, I spent the day with two of my good friends.
We had brunch and a few beers and watched a soccer game.
But I was in a trance for the day. I can’t describe it, it was a horrible trance. It really touched me. I thought to myself, “If that was how I was on Father’s Day, what would I be like for Christmas?” “.
Christmas was the big one for me. I was like a big kid, I would have the tree in November. The children adored him too. I thought after Father’s Day how am I going to do it?
Then over the summer I had a little distance healing experience which I now understand as a form of Reiki.
I’m not a spiritual person, but someone offered to do distance healing with me and I had an experience that made me question some things about my beliefs. It brought me to visit a psychic last summer, which gave me great comfort and got me through Christmas and Carla’s birthday.
People say time heals, but I don’t believe it. Time is not a healer.
Last year Father’s Day was tough and it was tough. But switching to a medium, it changed my whole point of view. I subscribe to football programs on TV, but with the kids I can’t remember sitting down to watch games live because we were always doing something.
For me, instead of a dad waiting for a Father’s Day gift, the best thing you can do is treat yourself and spend your time on Father’s Day.
Because they grow so fast and you don’t get the time back.
On Thursday I visited Conor and Darragh’s school where they opened a new courtyard garden which is subtly dedicated to their memory.
The most emotional part was seeing all of their friends, all of their classmates, who would have been in our house.
Watching them grow up … to me, in my mind, the kids are nine, seven and three. But Conor would be 11 now. It gave me a lump in my throat. They’ll do their Leaving Cert, go to college, and I’ll always think of Conor like a nine-year-old. Time passes so fast.
I know the Euros are on, maybe if your kid is a football fan watch a game with them. But what I would say is that the best thing for kids is to go out and climb a mountain, go for a walk, go swimming.
Go out with your children; this is the best gift you can give yourself.
We used to have a pass to the zoo and after a few visits the kids said they didn’t want to go.
I would say we go to Phoenix Park and kick a ball and then I would say I wonder how the lions are doing, we can get a bag of crisps while we’re at it. Four hours later, we would have spent half the day at the zoo partying.
I’m so, so grateful that I had this in my head, wanting to have them in my life.
Me and the two guys probably shared the same sense of humor.
When Carla arrived, we were still mountaineering, with Carla in a harness.
It was hard to have Carla on my back, but it was nice and I wouldn’t change a second, and it’s seconds that I don’t get back.
What better way to celebrate Father’s Day than to be a father and spend time with them?