Town grieves as family is brought home for burial

“THIS community has had more than its fair share of tragedy, so people really don’t know what to do any more.”

This was the reaction of a tearful Denis Kennedy, cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council and elected represented for the village of Clonroche.

He was also a relation of Lorraine Flood, 38, who died along with her husband Dermot, 41, and children Mark, 6, and Julie, 5, in a murder-suicide on Saturday.

On the day the Floods died it was almost one year and a week since another family from the parish suffered a similar fate.

Then, the Dunne family from the townland of Tomineally discovered their son Adrian Dunne had killed himself, his wife Ciara and their children Leanne and Shania in nearby Monageer.

On the other side of the parish another family recently lost two men to suicide.

The shadow these tragedies cast is unavoidable in Clonroche.

The Floods lived four doors down from the doctor’s surgery where a large porch window displays notices for passers-by.

Instead of information on opening times it tellingly has two large posters displaying the emergency numbers for psychological and social services.

“If you are worried, depressed or suicidal there is help for you. Please low call 9am to 1am,” it said.

However, the advice leaflets were powerless to prevent the events in the Flood household at 5.30am on Saturday.

Only the pubs and the takeaway in Clonroche remained open yesterday and a small number of local people remained.

They expressed anger at how the media had reported on the weekend’s deaths.

Others were upset because the extended families only found out about the events before the house fire from a 2.30pm news bulletin on South East Radio on Saturday.

Yesterday morning in a show of solidarity, massgoers flocked to a special memorial service in nearby St Clements celebrated by Fr Richard Redmond.

He was the priest who called to the Dunne family on the weekend they died and tried to raise the alarm when he felt something was wrong.

Insufficient investment in sewerage and other infrastructure has hamstrung development in Clonroche.

Therefore, besides a small housing estate off the main road, the village is largely the same as when Dermot was born into the Flood family 41 years ago.

His business, Sean Flood Water Pumps, provided drilling and pump services and was run from the rear of the house.

Cllr Kennedy said the family appeared to be well off and there were no obvious concerns.

“As far as everybody was concerned, Dermot ran a successful business. Both himself and Lorraine knew everybody and they were well liked,” he said.

Lorraine was a yoga teacher who held classes in the community hall, within sight of her house, two nights a week.

She was the second-youngest in the Kehoe family with its roots sown deep in the surrounding district. Her father John came from a family of 17. Dermot too came from a large and well-respected family. The family home sat on the main road between New Ross and Enniscorthy.

Official figures estimate more than 6,000 cars a day pass the Flood’s home across from the service station.

However, all weekend less than a dozen Garda cars were parked inside the cordoned-off area as men from the parish took turns to divert traffic onto byroads.

Throughout yesterday these drivers slowed down to see the shell of the house 350 yards down the road.

The men diverting them would ordinarily have been tuned into the National Football League to hear Wexford beat Fermanagh to claim the Division Three title.

But when the final whistle was blown at 2.35pm yesterday there was no celebrating and little conversation among those on sentry duty in the village.

One local woman said the town just wanted its space to grieve and wanted to bring the Flood family home for burial.

More in this section