The manager of the Bray Travellers community Development group says the deaths of four people - including a mother and three young children - in a fire in Clondalkin, Dublin have devastated the Traveller community.
Speaking to Newstalk Drives Henry McKean, Jim O’Brien, says the community is grief stricken: “It's a big shock, we are really getting ready now for dark days ahead and that's going to be a funeral.”
Gardaí suspect an electrical source, possibly involving a television, may have caused the fire at a charity housing complex in Dublin which claimed the lives of a pregnant woman and three children,
Annmarie O’Brien, 27, who was seven-months pregnant, and her daughter Paris, aged two, perished, along with relations, Holly, aged three, and Jordan, aged four.
Brigid ‘Biddy’ O’Brien, aged in her 30s and the mother of Holly and Jordan, remained in critical condition last night.
Sources said the women were cousins and close friends and from the Glendruid halting site in Shankill, south Dublin.
Jim O'Brien of the Bray Travellers Community Group says the "grieving is absolutely unreal" after yesterday's fatal fire in Clondalkin pic.twitter.com/tTOGLrJGRx— RTÉ News (@rtenews) March 9, 2017
It is the latest fire tragedy to hit members of the Travelling community in south Dublin and follows the mass tragedy at Carrickmines halting site in October 2015, which claimed the lives of 10 people, including five children and a pregnant woman.
Annmarie O’Brien and her daughter were staying at the Sonas Clondalkin Supported Housing complex in west Dublin, and Brigid O’Brien and her two children were visiting.
Emergency services were called to the complex on Kilcronan Road at around 2.30am yesterday after residents saw smoke coming from the door of an apartment. All five occupants were taken to separate hospitals. Annmarie, Paris and Holly were pronounced dead a short time later.
Jordan, who was in a critical condition at Crumlin Children’s Hospital, passed away yesterday afternoon.
The Garda Technical Bureau yesterday began a major examination. They are trying to establish how the fire started and how the smoke and flames spread and are liaising with Dublin Fire Brigade.
Early indications suggest that there may have been an “electrical” cause to the fire, which broke out in the livingroom.
It is understood that a television is being examined in this regard, though sources said other factors could be involved.
An examination is under way to determine if all smoke alarms were operating, amid some reports that a fire alarm was going off.
Speaking at an event marking International Women’s Day at Áras An Uactharáin, President Michael D Higgins said: “I want to express my sympathy to all those affected by the tragedy in Clondalkin. The women involved would have been represented here today and all our hearts must go out to these women and children.”
Insp Ken McLaughlin said the fire was a “terrible tragedy”.
Sonas staff said they were “heartbroken” and “devastated” by the tragedy.