Community struggles to comprehend deaths of Eoghan and Ruairí Chada
Parents gather at Ballinkillen National School in Co Carlow to offer support
Parents of children attending Ballinkillen National School leave the school yesterday afternoon after a meeting there with school management and other parents. Photograph: Colin Keegan.
Parents gathered together yesterday outside Ballinkillen National School where they discussed how best to tell their children about what happened to Eoghan and Ruairí Chada.
Just a few hundred metres away, the boys’ mother, Kathleen, was attempting to take in the tragedy of losing her sons.
Ms Chada, originally Murphy and a native of the tiny village about six kilometres from Bagenalstown in Co Carlow, is expected to remain at home in the two-storey house she built with her husband, Sanjeev, until the bodies of her two boys are released.
That could be this evening at the earliest, or maybe not until tomorrow, with a joint funeral expected to take place on Friday or Saturday in the church where the boys’ grandmother, Patsy Murphy, is sacristan and where Ruairí was baptised five years ago.
An hour-long meeting at the school, convened to help staff put together a strategy to offer support to parents and their children, was attended by staff from the National Educational Psychological Service. The school has 113 pupils and six teachers. It is implementing a critical incident plan to help the children cope with the news.
Leaving afterwards in small groups, parents were reluctant to speak to the large media presence in the village since Monday afternoon.
Many of the parents, some accompanied by their children, were red-eyed with emotion as they left the school and contemplated the fate of the two brothers.
The school principal, Michelle Doorley, was visibly distressed as she read out a statement to the media in which she appealed for privacy for the Chada and Murphy families. She described what happened on Monday as “a terrible tragedy” for the families, the school and the community.
The boys will be “greatly missed” by all who knew them, she said, as the school’s six teachers looked on in silence.