Belfast Telegraph

Priest's tribute to arson deaths mum and daughter

By Adrian Rutherford

An arson attack which killed an elderly widow and her daughter has robbed a grieving community of two good people, a priest at their funeral has said.

Betty and Deirdre McGirr died in the deliberate blaze, which ripped through a flats complex in Dungannon earlier this month.

Yesterday hundreds of mourners packed St Malachy’s Church in Edendork, two miles outside the town, to pay their final respects.

They heard Fr Seamus White describe how the tragic events of April 14 caused deep shock and sadness across the community.

“Indeed, it is a double tragedy for the McGirr family; Roisin and Eileen (Deirdre’s sisters) have lost a beloved mother and a dear sister. Other members of the family have lost a grandmother, an aunt, and indeed so much more to those who knew and loved them,” he said.

Betty, aged 71, was visiting her daughter when the blaze swept through the flat in Dunlea Vale.

The pair were described by stunned neighbours as “two beautiful people”.

Fr White said many tears have been shed since the tragedy.

“Both Betty and Deirdre were loved by their neighbours in Dunlea Vale and their many friends and this was seen very clearly on Tuesday afternoon as a large crowd turned out to receive them home and pay their respects,” he added. “There were many tears as many of these friendships go back 30 years to the time when the McGirr family moved to the estate.”

The priest described how Betty was well-known and highly regarded in the community.

He said: “Deirdre was in the prime of her life. She should have had many more years to enjoy.

“However, she will stay forever young in our minds and hearts.”

The women were buried in the adjoining cemetery.

A police investigation into the blaze is continuing.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph