Funerals of 10 who died in fire to take place next week

Talks over proposed emergency halting site for those left homeless continue

The funerals of the 10 people who died in a fire at a temporary halting site in south Dublin last weekend, will take place next week. The remains of the five adults and five children were returned to their families on Friday evening following formal identification.

The first funerals, which will take place in Bray. Co Wicklow will be of Willie Lynch (25), his partner Tara Gilbert (27) and their children Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4). The funeral of Willie's brother Jimmy Lynch (39) will also be in Bray and these funerals are likely to be on Monday or Tuesday.

The funerals of Thomas Connors (27), his wife Sylvia Connors (25) and their children Jim (5), Christy (2) and Mary (five months) will be in Gorey, Co Wexford and are likely to take place later in the week.

Separately, talks between residents of Rockville Drive, a cul-de-sac about a kilometre away from the site of the Carrickmines fire, and housing officials in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council, over a proposed emergency halting site for those left homeless after the fire, are continuing.


The discussions, which entered their third day on Friday, broke up at about 2pm and resumed later.

The council’s housing section wants to use a council-owned one-acre field adjacent to Rockville Drive, to house 15 homeless survivors of the fire, for six months. Two of 15 individuals are the surviving children of Sylvia and Thomas Connors. One of them, a four year-old boy, is still in Crumlin Children’s hospital and is said to be “recovering”.

The council has assured Rockville Drive residents the site will be “decommissioned within six months” by which time work on a permanent site elsewhere will be complete. However residents say they do “not trust council promises” and are seeking a legally binding guarantee the Travellers will be moved from the site by the end of April 2016.

They are also understood to be seeking binding assurance on a “number of site management issues”.

They say they were not consulted about the plan, the site is not suitable and another location should be found. It is understood however the Council does not believe there is another suitable site in the area. The surviving Travellers do not want to move a great distance from the site they had been living on for eight years and where their loved ones died.

If officials fail to reach agreement with the residents it is open to them to proceed with their planned site against residents wishes, by court injunction if necessary. However the authority is loathe to pursue this course.

Since they were informed by circular, delivered to each of the 44 houses in the cul-de-sac on Tuesday morning, of the council plans, residents have blocked the entrance to the site with parked cars.

In his letter to residents, director of housing Tom McHugh, said: “Following the tragic fire which took place on Saturday morning I am writing to advise you of the decision made by [the] council . . . to provide a temporary, emergency halting site on the . . . lands at the end of Rockville Drive.”

He said the site would consist of four mobile homes and two out-houses with showers and washing facilities. A boundary fence would also be erected.

Mr McHugh said “in view of the emergency nature of the housing needs of the families left homeless by the fire” the housing department was using emergency powers under the Housing Act to use the site.”

While a number of Government Ministers have criticised the residents’ actions, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was necessary to consult residents.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times