Kathleen Chada says fight against ex-husband's parole 'a fight I will ultimately lose'

Kathleen Chada says if her ex-husband's sentence is not behind a prison wall 'it's not being served'
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.28 2 Dec 2021

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Kathleen Chada says fight agai...

Kathleen Chada says fight against ex-husband's parole 'a fight I will ultimately lose'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.28 2 Dec 2021

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Kathleen Chada, whose ex-husband murdered their two sons eight years ago, says his fight for parole is one she will ultimately lose.

She was speaking as Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk show Ireland currently has 11 prisoners who have been in jail for longer than 35 years.

There are 362 inmates who are serving life sentences in prisons throughout the country. Some 352 of them are men and 10 are women.


Four of the men have been in jail for over 40 years, and another seven have been behind bars for at least 35 years.

While 14 'lifers' released last year had spent an average of 21-and-a-half years in custody.

Kathleen's sons Eoghan (10) and Ruairi (5) were murdered by their father Sanjeev in Co Mayo in 2013.

Eoghan and Ruairí Chada are seen in this file photo from Gardaí

She told Lunchtime Live the process for parole is constantly hanging over her.

"We talk about the headline of an 18 to 20 year on average a life sentence prisoner will serve: the process for them to actually be given parole starts much earlier.

"It did start at seven years, it now starts at 12 years effectively.

"So the family - me and my family - we had to deal with that a year and a half ago when Sanj did make an application for parole at seven years.

"I know that in three and a half years time, probably less than that, that process will start again.

"And I know that, even though I'm confident that he will not be given parole at 12 years, the process will have started and therefore I will still be engaged in that every two years, every three years."

'It is always, always there'

Kathleen says unless her ex-husband is in a prison, his sentence will not be served.

"It's always there, it is hanging over you all the time.

"I don't allow it to impact on my life on a day to day basis, because I can't - I can't live my life that way.

"But it is always, always there so you're constantly looking forward."

She says she views this as a 'fight' on her sons' behalf.

"We're living in this world where it's unknown to us... so you're kind of thrown into it.

"And you navigate it the best way that you possibly can... I talk about this as being a fight, this is my fight on behalf of Eoghan and Ruairi.

"But it's a fight I will ultimately lose.

"I mightn't lose it at 17 or 18 years, it might be 22, 23, 24, 25 years - if I'm lucky - but that I have to describe it like that is wrong.

"I know that there will come a point in time where he will walk out of the doors of the prison.

"And for me, personally, if he is not serving that sentence behind a prison wall - it's not being served".

And she believes whole life orders need to be brought in here.

"I do think that there should be minimum sentencing, and I do think there should be the opportunity for a whole life order in certain circumstances.

"The group that I'm involved [with] ... when we checked into that a number of years ago, we were told it was against our Constitution - which doesn't make sense to me.

"We concentrated very much on the parole... we will start to look further. But making a change like that is huge".

And Kathleen says there is already precedent for such orders, with capital murder convictions for prison officers and Gardaí.

"The provision is there, albeit in a different guise.

"Personally for me, it would be an awful lot easier for me to know that my ex-husband was going to serve 'X' number of years in prison."

Main image: Kathleen Chada at the publication of the Women's Aid Femicide Report in 2019. Picture by: Sam Boal/

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Capital Murder Conviction Eoghan Chada Kathleen Chada Life Sentence Life Sentences Mayo Parole Ruairi Chada Whole Life Order

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