Irish flags to fly at half mast as country shocked by fire deaths of Traveller families near Dublin
A book of condolence has been opened at the Mansion House in Dublin Books of condolence have been opened across Ireland in response to the horrific fire deaths of a family of young travellers just outside Dublin last Saturday.
Five adults and five young children burned to death at the halting site in Carrickmines in a tragedy that touched every Irish person.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny ordered that flags should fly at half mast at every official Irish government building.
Local authorities across the country have opened books of condolence. Some, like Limerick, even opened on-line books.
At Ireland’s Sunday night European Cup clash with Poland there was a minute’s silence to mark the tragedy. President Michael D Higgins led the nation’s grief as he signed his condolences at Dublin’s Mansion House.
A Nation Mourns: Fire Claims Ten Lives
At the start of this week Garda forensic teams were still sifting through the remains of the two burned out prefab homes.
Even though all ten victims were named, official identification of the remains will have to be based on DNA and dental records. The ten dead were reported to be Willie Lynch and Tara Gilbert and their daughters Kelsey and Jodie, Thomas and Sylvia Connors and their children Jim, Christy and sixmonth old Mary. A brother of Willie, 39-year-old Jimmy Lynch was also reported to have died in the blaze.
Two adults and a child injured in the fire are in hospital. Dublin Fire Service said that it seemed the fire broke out in a prefab in the halting site, which quickly spread to surrounding units.
The Irish Traveller Movement said that similar accidents could happen at any time anywhere because families are being forced to live long-term in unsuitable temporary accommodation.
Catherine Joyce said there is no political will to secure proper accommodation for travellers and gypsies. She said there are 445 unauthorised halting sites in Ireland with no provisions or facilities from local authorities.
Geraldine Dunne, director of Dublin’s Southside Traveller Action Group said that the site at Glenamuck Road had been temporary with a number of families living there. She urged people who wanted to help to contribute to the fund set up by St. Vincent de Paul.
Dublin Fire Birgade’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dennis Keeley said he has never before witnessed a tragedy of the scale of the fire in almost 30 years as a firefighter.
“On arrival at the incident one unit was well alight and the crew were obviously faced with a very difficult and extensive fire scene.
“And as you can imagine the horrific circumstances as they were unfolding there was quite a number of distraught family members and friends at the scene. And the fact there were a number of casualties,” he said.