Belfast Telegraph

Carrickmines fire tragedy: remaining victims laid to rest

A veil of dark grey clouds fell over Wexford town this morning as the remaining victims of the Carrickmines fire tragedy were laid to rest.

Three tiny white coffins were ushered in silence from the Church of The Assumption Bride Street, to the backdrop of  hundreds of mourners who had turned out to pay their respects.        

Inside lay baby Mary Connors (5 months) and her brothers Jim (5) and Christy (2).

They were followed by their young parents Thomas and Sylvia Connors both aged 27.

The couple made their journey to their final resting place in two elegant horse drawn carriages.

Their children followed behind them along Wexford Quay and over Wexford bridge to Crosstown cemetery.

The couple's orphaned son Michael (6) was embraced by loved ones as the family made the 3km journey from the church to the graveyard.

Their other surviving son, Tom (4), who was released from hospital on Thursday, was not in attendance.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was among the mourners today.

Public Expenditure Miniter Brendan Howlin,  Government chief whip Paul Kehoe, Senator Michael D’Arcy and Mayor of Wexford Ger Carthy, were also in attendance. 

Chief celebrant Fr. Aodhan Marken said the fact that such a young family had been lost made the tragedy "even more unbearable."

"When someone dies who has reached a great age, we say that they have taken a great portion of history with them," he said.

“But when young people die they take away the future, their dreams, their vision and their potential; that’s what makes this pain, this reality so devastating today, so unbelievable and  heartbreaking.”

"The Travelling community and indeed many in our country are still gifted with the grace of faith, and today that is what we need so much, the gift of faith.

"That faith which has been tested to the limit these past dark days and yet we turn to God and ask him to embrace this family of Thomas, Sylvia, Jim, Christy and Baby Mary and give them a home where they will be together forever and where one day we too shall see them face to face and enjoy their friendship,”  he added.

"As we pray for them we especially pray for their sons and brothers Michael and Tom, who are in the loving care of their family, there is no doubt that the memories of their Mam and Dad, brothers and sister will be kept alive by all those who love them and take care of them. "

He added that despite dying in tragedy they had lived entirely for one another.

"Yes they died amid tragedy and devastation but they lived in love for one another and especially for their family," he said.

Bishop Denis Brennan delivered a message from Pope Francis and paid tribute to the strong family bonds he has encountered in the travelling community.

"Having worked with the Travelling People over the years I have come to know, and admire, your lively sense of the sacred, and your strong family bonds.

"I pray that these two traits, which are a hallmark of your community, will help you through this time of tears,”  he said.

"In that spirit we commend Thomas and Sylvia Connors and their children Jimmy, Christy, and Mary to the love and care of God our Father.

"In our prayers we also remember Willie Lynch, Tara Gilbert, their daughters Kelsey and Jodie, and Jimmy Lynch,”  he added.

The family's requiem mass was held at the Church of the Ascension of the Lord in Balally, Dublin yesterday - some 12 days after the tragedy struck.

On Wednesday, the five other victims of the devastating Glenamuck road blaze were laid to rest in Bray, Co Wicklow.

Tara Gilbert (27), who was pregnant, her partner Willy Lynch (25) and their two young daughters Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4) were all interred in the town's Springfield Cemetery alongside Mr Lynch's brother Jimmy (39) following a heartwrenching, music-filled ceremony.

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