Ireland woke up to tragic news on Saturday morning as it emerged that a fire at a Traveller site in Dublin had claimed the lives of 10 people, including five children.
This is the largest loss of life by fire in the Irish State since 48 people were killed in the Stardust nightclub in 1981.
Fire fighters were called to the site on Glenamuck Road in Carrickmines at 4am. It is believed that the conflagration began in one of the housing units before spreading to a second one.
Gardai (the Irish police) are conducting a full technical investigation of the site, but the fire is not being treated as suspicious at this time.
The victims all from the Lynch and Connors families are believed to be Thomas and Sylvia Connors and their children Jim, Christy and Mary, Tara Gilbert, her partner Willie Lynch and their children Kelsey and Jodie. Jimmy Lynch (39) is said to be the tenth victim.
The dead included a mother, a father, and five children – including a six-month old baby. It was also reported that the mother was a few months into a new pregnancy.
Other tenants at the site were taken to the hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. One of the children who died was initially taken to the hospital but could not be saved by the emergency services team.
The community has been rattled by the loss. The site is still closed off, but make-shift memorials have been set up along the road nearby.
The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, called the fire “a most dreadful tragedy.”
Fr Derek Farrell, parish priest for the travelling community, speaks of the 'unbelievable loss' caused by the fire https://t.co/Ovv4tiIe9i
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) October 10, 2015
“My thoughts at this time are with the families and friends of those who have lost their lives and those who have been injured,” he said.
Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, called the tragedy "heartbreaking for all in the Traveller and wider local community." He asked that the dead, the injured, their families and loved ones be remembered in prayer at all masses across Ireland this weekend.
This Sunday books of condolence for the bereaved will open across the local community in Carrickmines. Books of condolence were opened at the Leopardstown Shopping Center, the Market Belarmine, the customer services desk at Dundrum Town Centre and a Centra shop in nearby Stepaside.