Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

She just lived for her kids

Victoria O'Hara talks to residents of a Cavan village about the bubbly girl they all knew

The village of Corlough may be small in size but the shock and grief the community is experiencing this week is of a huge proportion.

Mother-of-five Lorraine McGovern (30) moved away from the area to make a life with Arthur McElhill, a man who she had been in a relationship with since she was a teenager.

This week in a horrific house fire the two, along with their children perished.

The blackened house in Omagh has become the site for shocked friends and neighbours to share their grief at the loss.

But that grief has travelled to the home of Lorraine's parents Kevin and Teresa McGovern in Co Cavan.

The family remained in the small bungalow in Corlough yesterday as a steady stream of visitors carrying flowers and cards arrived offering their sympathy and support.

In the nearby village of Bawnboy, locals spoke of the "utter shock" the tragedy had sparked in the community.

One local woman described Lorraine, as a "bubbly girl" who had coped well becoming a mother at a young age.

"She really did live for her children," she said. "She had Caroline when she was about 16 or 17.

"To think about how she died, well, you can't think about it.

"The whole area knows the family - it is that kind of place - but it is hard talking about it. It is such a tragedy."

Father Tom McManus, parish priest for Corlough and a relative of the McGoverns, said the family is devastated.

"I have been with them since the news broke," he said. "They are still in shock. Members of both the McElhills and McGoverns are supporting each other through this."

Fr McManus said reports that Mr McElhill was a sex offender have led to more pain.

"The main feeling is one of devastation and just sadness. The reports have taken the whole family aback.

"It has just hit them like a bolt and they are dreading what they might hear next," he said. "It has totally compounded their grief."

Mr McManus added that Miss McGovern's former teachers remember her as a good pupil.

"I spoke to her school teachers in Tullyveela National School who said she was a lovely girl, who got on well in her classes."

And a woman who attends church with the McGoverns said people just want to reach out and support them.

"I called to see them the day of the fire to pass on my sympathy. They were just in bits.

"It is terrible a family has to go through this type of tragedy. It is hard to know what to say."

Father Tom McKiernan, who lives in Bawnboy said: "These folk here in Cavan carry on with business from day-to-day, but when tragedy strikes they drop everything to help. And this really is a tragedy. The news has just devastated people here.

"It surprised me how fast the news had reached Cavan that Lorraine had died in the fire. Just everyone was talking about it.

"When children die, it is just unnatural, but in that way, it is just, well, there are no words. Everyone is just stunned."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz