Funeral of Clondalkin fire victims hears of ‘enormous sacrifice’

Four people, including pregnant woman and three children, died in Dublin blaze

Holly and Jordan loved their mammy, and she loved them, but they were together now and not alone, their funeral Mass heard on Monday.

The two children, aged three and four, died along with their cousins, Hannah-Paris (2) and AJ (unborn), in a fire in an apartment in Clondalkin last week.

Annmarie O’Brien (27) mother of Paris and AJ, also died in the fire, while the older children’s mother, Bridget “Biddy” O’Brien, remains in a critical condition in St James’s Hospital.

Fr John O’Connor told mourners at St Anne’s Church in Shankill that he had been speaking to Holly and Jordan’s father, Jamie McGinn, on Sunday evening.


“He wants people to know Holly and Jordan loved their mammy, and how much she loved them. Jamie is obviously deeply upset by the death of two beautiful children. But he is happy that they are together with God,” the priest said.

“They are together. They are not alone, and that is very important for Jamie . . . And he wants his children to know that he will look after their mammy and that they will be happy together.”

Five coffins arrived in three hearses at the large church, just outside Shankill village, a little after 10am on Monday.

The hearses had made their way from Bray, the adjoining town and home of Annmarie and Biddy, cousins who had grown up together as sisters.

The hearses stopped for a few moments outside Aughmore Lane housing scheme, where Jamie and Biddy had made a home.

The small coffins of Hannah-Paris and AJ were received into the church first, followed by that of their mother. After them, the white caskets of Jordan and Holly were carried in.

Terrible blow

Fr O’Connor said the sacrifice that had been asked of those who loved the five young lives was “enormous”.

“No words of mine can soften the terrible blow that you have received. But I ask you all, each and every one of you, to put your trust in God and to accept his holy will,” he said.

“The sacrifice he asks of you is enormous but I can assure you and I promise you today that he has something very special in store for you.”

He asked for special prayers for Biddy who, he said, was there “in spirit”.

“Biddy is a very strong intelligent person but she now needs the love and support of all of us as never before.”

Fr O’Connor spoke of the love their families had had for the children.

“When you joined our family, our hearts were so full of happiness there was no room in us for words. You were growing, our hearts were so full of care for you,” he said. “We spoke soothingly, sometimes sharply, fearful for your safety but always, from the deepest places in our hearts, we spoke lovingly.

“There is a space in us that is yours and yours always. For the light you brought to us, for the special gift you will ever be, thank you.”

The mourners were led by Holly and Jordan’s father Jamie McGinn, Annmarie’s partner and father of Paris and AJ Sean Patel, Biddy’s parents Bridie and John O’Brien, Annmarie’s father Martin and Annmarie’s and Biddy’s siblings.

President Michael D Higgins was represented by his aide-de-camp, Col Michael Kiernan. Also there were Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Cormac Devlin, Mayor of South Dublin Guss O’Connell, Dublin Fire Brigade chief fire officer Pat Fleming, Garda Chief Supt Gerry Russell and Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin.

Following the Mass, the five were laid to rest in Springfield Cemetery in Bray.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times