There are unconfirmed reports that an elderly Irishman could be among the casualties following the Grenfell Tower block fire in London, which has claimed the lives at least 30 people.
A further 70 more, including children, are reported missing after the blaze ripped through the tower block in Latimer Road, North Kensington, during the early hours of Wednesday morning.
West Cork maritime lawyer Michael Kingston, a director of the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith and chairman of the All Britain Competition, has heard confirmation that a first generation Irishman was among the victims and was identified by a Claddagh ring.
“I was told that an elderly Irish gentleman was identified with the assistance of his Claddagh ring,” Mr Kingston told Independent.ie.
Mr Kingston’s father, Tim, was one of 50 people killed in the Whiddy oil disaster when oil tanker ‘Betelgeuse’ exploded in Bantry in 1979.
Mr Kingston believes the two disasters bore striking similarities and in a letter to Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith and Fulham, said: “I have a duty as an Irishman to the man that just passed our door here in Hammersmith (RIP), no different to my father 38 years ago.”
Mr Kingston has sought a meeting to discuss the issue and to “help with achieving justice for these people and just as importantly putting the shameful Government under the spotlight for having no respect for human life and concentrating on arrogance”.
It was also revealed on Thursday (15 June) that the family of a missing second generation Irishman are appealing for information.
Dennis Murphy, 56, told his sister Anne Marie that he was “trapped” on the 14th floor of the tower block.
“He left his brother a voicemail at 1.30am saying, ‘I’m stuck in the fire, there’s black smoke everywhere and they are telling us to stay in the flat’,” A family spokesperson told Independent.ie.
“His last contact was with his sister Anne Marie at 2am saying he was trapped and then his phone went dead.”
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “We have no confirmation that any Irish citizens are caught up in the incident but we stand ready to provide assistance.”
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The death toll of the tower block fire in North Kensington is expected to rise in the coming days, police and emergency services have warned.