Delete my number from your phone and
the best of luck with your life. Stop

-Text to Saoirse from Dolores' phone, December 7, 2009, following Saoirse's visit four days earlier


In November 2009, Emily, Saoirse, and Sophie decided to visit their mother Dolores. Such a typical, natural thing for sisters to do. Just call up mom and figure out which weekend would work out best. Coming from Counties Galway, Mayo, and Longford, perhaps the sisters could meet in Athlone and travel together to Rosslare. All the Maxwell women could have a relaxing time catching up with each other and making plans for the upcoming holidays.


Sophie volunteers to set up the date with Dolores. Surprisingly, instead of contacting her directly, Sophie sends a text to Ethan on November 17th:

“Hey Ethan, Im spending next weekend with mom, if she is with you in bray i will collect her fri on my way to wexford. Saoirse and Emily are coming too. We are having a girls weekend with her. I will let you know what time im collecting her from you later in the week. If you have dropped her back to wexford in the meantime, let me know. Sophie

Not long after sending this text to Ethan, Sophie sends a text to Saoirse, saying she is not going and if Saoirse and Emily still want to visit Dolores, they can “ Ethan and try to reach mom.” Ethan and Dolores proved unreachable by phone, and this planned trip never occured. A pattern was now set for many other unsuccessful attempts to visit Dolores mounted by her children and relatives.

One visit did occur. On Thursday, December 3rd, for the first time since Cecil Maxwell's Anniversary Mass the previous January, Saoirse saw her mom.


Dolores and Cecil with Saoirse and her husband in Rosslare, 2007On Wednesday, Dec 2, Saoirse received a text from Sophie. The exchange follows:

Sophie: “When is the last time you spoke to mom?”
Saoirse: “Months why u not able 2 get
her ”
Sophie: “No and her mobile is off now too. He must have her in his house, with no contact to the outside world at all.”

Saoirse learns from Sophie that she is worried about a potentially serious personal medical issue (which thankfully turned out to be a false alarm) and was very upset that she couldn't speak to Dolores. Saoirse, greatly alarmed, arranges to be off from work Thursday and Friday, and starts travelling from Connemara at 4:45am the next day to Dublin. Arriving by bus in the morning, and believing her mom to be at Ethan's house, Saoirse travels by DART to Bray and then by foot to the area she thinks Ethan lives. [Editor's note:Ethan is very circumspect about letting his address, phone numbers, place of work, etc. be known and goes to unusual lengths and contrivances to keep it so. Here Saoirse is relying on a vague name of a street that someone thought Ethan might live on.] Knocking on doors and speaking to people in the neighbourhood finally leads Saoirse to Ethan's house. Neither Ethan or Dolores are there.

Finding a bus, Saoirse travels to Tagoat and walks to Rosslare, picking up food at a shop for herself and her mom. Over twelve hours from the start of her journey now, Saoirse arrives at her mom's house. Dolores is both pleased and surprised by Saoirse's visit. Dolores was crying, and blamed it on sinus problems.

During her journey, Saoirse tried numerous times to phone her mom on both her land line and mobile, but was unsuccessful. Saoirse asked her mother about this and Dolores replied that the lines were faulty. Saoirse and her siblings had heard this for years, including years before Dolores and Cecil moved to Rosslare. It seems their phones in Dublin had the same problems. During a pleasant time chatting over tea, Dolores informed Saoirse that she was going to Dublin on Saturday and they decided to spend Friday together, and then the both of them would travel to Dublin, with Saoirse helping her mom deliver some Christmas presents.

This was not to happen. During their chat, and not very long after she had arrived, Saoirse's brother Ronan appeared at Dolores' house. Ronan too lived in Rosslare, a five or ten minute walk from Dolores house. Shortly after his arrival, the phones in the house started to all work, as if by magic.

Dolores' mobile rang. She took several calls upstairs in her bedroom. Ronan's mobile rang, and he busily engaged himself with texting to and fro, and asking Saoirse who did she work for, who was her landlord, etc. as directed from his phone. Even Dolores' land line was ringing. Going upstairs to the toilet during one of the calls, Saoirse looked in on her mom and saw she was crying. Once again Dolores said it was sinus problems. And so the evening continued, phones going ninety to the dozen, until Ethan with nary a warning or knock burst through the front door and spirited Dolores away.


With the background set, in A Simple Plan Part 2 we'll let Ethan take over the narration of events, as he described them in a letter to the Bray Gardai the following morning.


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day UN Declaration of Human Rights European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity Towards a Society for All Ages