Monday 26 September 2016

Cousins seek bail to attend burials

Published 23/10/2015 | 02:30

The remains of Sylvia and Thomas Connors and their three children, Jim, Christy and Baby Mary drive past the halting site where they lost their lives
The remains of Sylvia and Thomas Connors and their three children, Jim, Christy and Baby Mary drive past the halting site where they lost their lives

Two members of the Traveller community have been denied bail on compassionate grounds to attend the burial of five members of the Connors family who were among 10 adults and children who died in the Carrickmines fire tragedy.

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However, one first cousin whose parents are dead - and who said he had been raised by the Connors - has been granted a 13-hour period of release from prison today to help carry the coffins of his loved ones.

The funeral Mass of Thomas and Sylvia Connors, both aged 27, and their children Jimmy (5), Christy (2) and Mary (5 months) took place yesterday at the Church of the Ascension in Balally. Their remains have been brought to Wexford for burial today.

Yesterday High Court Judge Mr Justice Moriarty prioritised the compassionate release applications, which were opposed in each case by the State.

Several cases were adjourned to facilitate the three applications.

Judge Moriarty said it was difficult not to be moved by the applications and the "substantive grief" of the Traveller community, and said it was understandable the men were anxious to be present at the burials.

However, after hearing evidence from gardaí and legal submissions, Judge Moriarty refused bail to a cousin of the deceased who is facing a murder charge.

One-day release on compassionate grounds was also refused to a cousin of the deceased facing a number of assault charges who said he had made "a lot of bad decisions in the past" but promised to return to prison if he was granted compassionate parole.

Judge Moriarty granted bail on compassionate grounds to another cousin who told Judge Moriarty the Connors were immediate family members to him.

"Your honour, I was raised by these people," he said. "I just want to go and pay my respects, I'll do anything just to go [to the burials] for the day."

Irish Independent

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