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Dublin fire: Father, mother and five children including baby among nine people dead following major blaze at traveller site

  • Nine people dead following fire
  • Young child among fatalities
  • Councillor organises donations for family

Published 10/10/2015

Gardai are investigating a fire at a traveller site
Gardai are investigating a fire at a traveller site

A mother, father and five children all under the age of 10 are understood to be among nine people that have died following a fire at a traveller site in Carrickmines, south of Dublin.

Their children were four boys under the age of 10 and a six-month-old baby girl.

There are also fears for another two family members related to the wife, who were visiting the family last night for a family event and were due to stay over.

The site is a temporary halting site consisting of portacabins and caravans.

Early indications are that all the deceased were sleeping in one portacabin that caught fire. It is understood that it wasn't a caravan or mobile home that caught fire, but a permanent structure.

Also living on the site was the man's brother and sister, also parents to young children, and the man's parents.

It is believed that these people are receiving treatment in hospital today.

The blaze occurred in the early hours of this morning at a domestic dwelling on the Glenamuck Road, Carrickmines.

The site is located next to the Wayside Celtic Football Club.

Emergency services attended the scene at 4am.

The cause of the fire is not yet known but there is nothing to suggest at this stage that the fire was suspicious.

The Republic's Assistant State Pathologist is present at the scene this afternoon and has commenced their investigations.

Two adults and two children were rescued from the fire and treated by advanced paramedics who have a level of training greater than that of standard crews.

Four water tenders and two emergency tenders were sent to the scene along with four ambulances, two senior officers and a district officer.

The area has been cordoned off and the Garda Technical Bureau arrived at the scene shortly before 10am.

A relative of the family, who asked not be named, said: "The family moved to the site a decade ago when a brother of the deceased was killed in a traffic accident in Sandyford.

"The family that died had been living on the temporary halting site at Glenamuck along with the deceased man's parents.

"It's thought the wife was visited by her two brothers last night for a family event. They were expected to stay the night and are both aged in their twenties."

This afternoon, the Irish Traveller Movement issued a statement on Facebook saying they have been inundated with offers of help and support for the affected family.

"We have been inundated with messages of condolences, questions, offers of support regarding the tragedy in Carrickmines. Our member group in the region, and another member group with close ties to the family are working to support the families on the ground today.

"The Traveller Counselling Service is also supporting the community. We are all still trying to establish the facts of this case. A statement will be issued by Southside Traveller Action Group later today. The priority of all involved is to support the families.

"What we can say is that we are heartbroken and in shock at the devastating loss of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and we extend our love, and our full support and solidarity. It is a sad day," the statement said.

Since early this morning, distressed neighbours and friends have laid bunches of flowers at the site of the tragedy on Glenamuck Road.

Dozens have also gathered at the Southside Traveller Action Group office.

Local TD Peter Mathews visited the office in Sandyford where members from the victims' extended families gathered from mid-morning.

"Our family heard about this tragedy this morning and we were utterly stunned with sadness. That you could loved ones in such a way is unthinkable and unimaginable.

"Visiting the families here made us the feel the tangible loss they are suffering. We all share their pain," Mr Mathews said.

A local resident said they were three generations of the family living on the site including young grandchildren, all understood to be under the age of seven.

Tributes

Sinn Féin councillor Chris Curran told Independent.ie the family were 'well-known and 'well-liked'.

"It seems to be around four o clock this morning a fire took place on the Glenamuck Road and there's been multiple fatalities," he told Independent.ie

"I've hear information locally that as many as eight people have passed away and a young child remains in hospital.

"It certainly seems that the poor family in this case that has been affected have been living in this area for a very long time, certainly in my knowledge.

"An awful lot of people would have known them.

"They would have been well-liked and well-known," he added.

Independent TD Shane Ross also visited the scene of the tragedy to pay his respects this morning.

"I lived down this road for many years," Independent TD Shane Ross said.

"I can't ever remember a tragedy like this ever. I can't even remember a tragedy like this in Ireland."

Local Labour councillor Peter O'Brien said the community are struggling to come to terms with this morning's events.

“We’re all coming at this as tragedy – there are no other words to describe it. I can’t imagine what the family are going through."

Meanwhile, Labour councillor Lettie McCarthy said the community is trying to help in any way they can - and people have already begun to donate clothes and food to the family.

“People are just trying to absorb the news – no one expects to wake up to something as awful as this on a Saturday morning,” said Cllr Lettie McCarthy.

“I got a text early this morning about it and my phone hasn’t stopped – people want to know what they can do.

“It’s early days at moment but already we’ve donations coming in – food, clothing, offers to put them up. People just want to help.

“This family was well known in the area and the community will rally around them.”

Local priest Father Gerry Moore, of Sandyford parish,  visited the site of the tragedy.

Fr Moore said he came to "say a prayer" for the family and that he has celebrated communion, confirmation and baptisms with them over the years.

"All we did was say a little prayer. The gardai are still trying to gather information so we can't say any more," Fr Moore said.

A local resident told Independent.ie: “They’d be very well known around the area as they’ve been here for years.

"The Gardaí just told us that there's likely more than four dead but they haven't told us anymore."

Another local said: "This family were well-respected in the community. The children and family were well integrated and had friends outside the traveller community. They never bothered anybody.

"I've nothing but respect for them. It's horrific," he added.

"They'd be a helpful family. They'd speak with nothing but respect."

The Glenamuck Road was closed this morning in both directions but has since been reopened to local traffic.

The Wayside Celtic Football club has called off its home games due to be played this weekend as mark of respect to those killed in the fire.

“The club players, management & committee offer our sincere condolences to the Families involved,” the club wrote on its Facebook page.

The grounds to the side are located next to where the deadly blaze took pace.

In an earlier post, the club confirmed it had also cancelled a junior club academy due to be held on Saturday.

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