Books of condolence to open in memory of Carrickmines dead

Nine people died at the halting site on the Glenamuck Road and a baby later in hospital

The entrance to the halting site on Glenamuck road, Carrickmines, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

The entrance to the halting site on Glenamuck road, Carrickmines, Co Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Books of condolence will be open in Dublin on Sunday in memory of the ten people who died in a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines.

They will be located at Leopardstown Shopping Centre, the Market Belarmine, the customer services desk at Dundrum Town Centre and the Centra shop in Stepaside.

The extended families of the ten people who died in the fire were “devastated “ and “angry”, a cousin said.

Margaret O’Leary, who also works for Southside Traveller Action Group (Stag), said she had received a call at 7am telling her the fire had claimed the lives of five children and five adults, from two families. Their surnames were given locally as Lynch and Connors.

Nine people died at the scene and a baby later in hospital in the greatest loss of life in a single fire since the Stardust tragedy in 1981, which claimed 48 lives.

One of the women who died, a mother of two thought to be in her 20s, is said locally to have been expecting her third child.

“As a mother I am devastated,” said Ms O’Leary. “These were my mother’s first cousins. Some of us were out last night at a fashion show in Dundrum Town Centre, for social inclusion week, and it had given us all such a boost. We had gone to bed so optimistic, feeling good, and then to wake up to this, it’s unbelievable.”

She was speaking at the premises of Stag, where extended families and some who had also been on the site at the time of fire, were gathered. She said other family members would be travelling for across Ireland and from England “for the wakes and the funerals”.

“They were just beautiful, lovely families. The site up there, they had it spotless, really nice, flowers and everything. But they were living in portacabins up there. If they were living in bricks and mortar I’m sure some of them could have been saved. The families here are devastated and angry too. I’m angry.”

Though officially a ‘temporary halting site’ of four bays, six families had been living at the Glenamuck Road site for between six and eight years. As with numerous such sites across the State there was ‘doubling up’ and overcrowding.

Ms O’Leary was today working with other members of Stag, liaising with housing officials in Dún Laoghaire County Council to source emergency accommodation for the 15 people left homeless by the fire. She was also trying to source “basic essentials” such as clothes and shoes, as well as toys, for the children among the now homeless families.

Local TD, Alan Shatter, was among those who visited the Stag premises.

“There is very little you can say to ease the pain of a situation when ten lives have been lost. I just came today to offer what support I can. I am sure Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council will do everything they can to help the families.

Also there were members of the emergency services who had attended the scene, as well as family liaison gardaí, members of the local clergy, staff from Dun Laoghaire County Council and counsellors from Traveller support organisations.