Gardaí awaiting further toxicology test results on McGinley children

Bodies of Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla McGinley (3) found in a house in Newcastle

Conor (9), Carla (3) and Darragh McGinley (7) with their father Andrew McGinley. The children were found dead in a house in Co Dublin on Friday night. Handout photograph: Andrew McGinley/An Garda

Conor (9), Carla (3) and Darragh McGinley (7) with their father Andrew McGinley. The children were found dead in a house in Co Dublin on Friday night. Handout photograph: Andrew McGinley/An Garda

 

A woman in her forties remains in Tallaght hospital on Sunday where she is being treated after she was found in a distressed state outside a property where the bodies of three young children were discovered on Friday.

The discovery was just after 7pm at a house at Parson’s Court, Newcastle, Co Dublin. The children were named by gardaí as Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla McGinley (3).

The deaths of the children are being treated by gardaí as “sudden” and “unexplained” and the inquiry into their deaths is criminal in nature.

One strong line of investigation was the children met with foul play, though early indications are they had no obvious injuries to their bodies.

It was expected that toxicology tests would be needed as part of the postmortem process to confirm how the children died. In a statement on Sunday gardaí said  an interim postmortem had been carried out but that the results were not being published for operational reasons.  Further toxicology results are still awaited.

Gardaí hope to speak to the woman, who is in her 40s, about what happened at the house. The woman is understood to be the children’s mother.

The emergency services were alerted by a taxi driver who found the woman on the street on Friday evening and took her home to Parson’s Court.

When the driver arrived at the house he saw a note with instructions not to go upstairs but to call to call 999 instead.

It is understood the children’s father, Andrew McGinley, arrived at the house from work at around the same time.

When gardaí and paramedics arrived at the scene just after 7pm on Friday the children were pronounced dead inside the house.

It was unclear how long they had been dead.

A woman leaves flowers outside the house in Parson’s Court in Newcastle in which the bodies of three children were found. Photograph: Collins
A woman leaves flowers outside the house in Parson’s Court in Newcastle in which the bodies of three children were found. Photograph: Collins

Sudden

The deaths of the children are being treated by gardaí as “sudden” and “unexplained” and the inquiry into their deaths is criminal in nature.

One strong line of investigation was that the children met with foul play, though early indications are they had no obvious injuries to their bodies.

As the children had no visible signs of injury it was expected that toxicology tests would be needed as part of the postmortem process to confirm how the children died.

Parson’s Court is a private estate of houses and apartments. It is understood two of the children were attending Scoil Chrónáin in Rathcoole.

The scene remains sealed off by gardaí and the bodies of the children were removed from the property after 10am on Saturday and brought to the city morgue.

The scene has been examined by members of the Garda Technical Bureau, while Assistant State Pathologist Margot Bolster also attended.

Sources said all the resources of a homicide investigation had been committed to the case.

Flowers are seen outside the house where the bodies of three children were found in a house in Newcastle. Photograph: Collins
Flowers are seen outside the house where the bodies of three children were found in a house in Newcastle. Photograph: Collins

Gardaí said a family liaison officer has been appointed and is in contact with Mr McGinley and the extended family.

Flowers were placed at the scene on Saturday.

Mass

A special Mass was held at St Finian’s Church and a book of condolences has been opened.

Co-parish priest Fr Kevin Doherty told The Irish Times on Saturday that those attending the Mass “have no words to speak but our presence”.

“We pray especially for parents and children, and we just spoke about the darkness has come but the light is present among us and that each one of us will be a light to another.”

A father-of-four whose children played with the McGinley children in a local playground said “they were just normal little kids...they were out there playing and they were happy”.

Flowers are seen outside the house at Parson’s Court. Photograph: Collins
Flowers are seen outside the house at Parson’s Court. Photograph: Collins

The man, who lives close to Parson’s Court with his family, said the community has been left “shocked”.

“It’s something you don’t want to hear. You always think it happens in other places, you don’t think it’s going to happen on your doorstep,” he said.

Local councillor Emer Higgins said the community of Newcastle and surrounding areas are “heartbroken”.

“This is just an unthinkable tragedy, we’ve really tight knit communities right across Newcastle, Rathcoole and Saggart. We’re all just heartbroken,” the Fine Gael councillor said.

“The community came together this morning to pray for the family and my own thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is grieving with them. I think in times like this it’s really good for a community to come together.”

Tusla said on Saturday it would put in place necessary supports as part of a critical incident protocol developed by the South Dublin Children and Young People’s Service Committee.

The protocol is activated following serious incidents likely to impact a community, it said.

If you or someone you know needs someone to talk to, contact the Samaritans on 116 123.