Gardai were yesterday awaiting results of post-mortems on the mother and two children killed in the Kilkenny farmhouse fire, as well as forensic tests on the building to try to find the cause of the fire.
The post-mortems were being carried out on the bodies of Sharon Whelan, 30, and her daughters Zsara, 7, and Nadia, 2, who died when fire engulfed their rented farmhouse at Roscon, Co Kilkenny, on Christmas Day. The family had been living in the farmhouse for two years. Post-mortems on the bodies of the family were being conducted at Waterford Regional Hospital. When the tests are completed, the bodies will be released for burial, which is likely to take place tomorrow.
Neighbours saw flames coming from the house just after 8.30am on Christmas morning and rushed to try to save Ms Whelan and her daughters.
People in the small village community have been rallying to support Sharon's parents, Christy and Nancy, who live in Windgap. "They are absolutely devastated. The family was very close," said family friend Fianna Fail councillor Matt Doran. The family was preparing to move into a new home.
Man detained over murder at party
GARDAI in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, have launched a murder inquiry after the death of a 29-year-old man at a party in an apartment in the town on St Stephen's Day.
The victim, who is originally from Lithuania, suffered a number of stab wounds after a row and died at the scene.
Three men were detained for questioning in connection with the death. Two of the men, aged 31 and 26, have since been released without charge. A 28-year-old man remains in custody at Nenagh Garda Station.
17-year-old stabbed to death in hostel
A 17-YEAR-OLD African man was yesterday stabbed to death in a refugee centre on Sarsfield Street in Limerick.
The victim was rushed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, but was pronounced dead a short time later.
An 18-year-old man, also of African origin, has been arrested in connection with the killing.
In an unrelated incident in Limerick, gardai are still investigating the circumstances in which a man in his 60s was found dead in his home off Hyde Road, Ballinacurra Weston on Christmas Eve. It is understood the man received a stab wound to the chest.
Two held as pensioner's body is found
A 39-year-old man and a 42-year-old woman have been arrested by police investigating the murder of Newry pensioner Marie Rankin. The pair were arrested in the Newry area yesterday and taken for questioning to Antrim Police Station.
The body of Maire Rankin was discovered in her terraced house on the Dublin Road in the city after relatives entered the house after she failed to respond to phone calls or answer her front door.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that a rear door to the house had been forced open. Mrs Rankin lived alone in the large terraced house and it is believed that she had planned to spend Christmas Day with a relative. She was last seen alive on Christmas Eve.
'Stroke' Fahy mourns death of mother
Controversial Galway County councillor Michael 'Stroke' Fahy is mourning the passing of his mother.
Mrs Mai Fahy, 99, died at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway city late on December 23 with Mr Fahy, her only son, by her bedside. Mrs Fahy was one of the last surviving members of Cumann na mBan and she had delivered dispatches during the War of Independence.
She was very proud of her son's achievements as a public representative and consistently campaigned for him at successive elections, and also played an important role behind the scenes in his work with constituents.
Her funeral Mass will take place this morning at 11am at St Teresa's Church, Lebane.
Over 300 trolley patients every day
Fine Gael Health Spokesperson Dr James Reilly yesterday revealed that over 300 patients on average were left waiting on hospital trolleys each day this December, an increase of over 60 per cent on December 2007, and over 100 per cent on December 2006.
"While Mary Harney has been claiming that A&Es are overstaffed, signing off on €900m in health service cuts and rubber-stamping plans to close hundreds of beds, patients on trolleys have been painfully aware of the reality on the ground," he said.
An analysis of INO figures for December shows that an average 314 patients were on trolleys each day. A comparison with previous years shows how bad things have become. Average daily figures for December 2006 and 2007 show 151 and 191 patients on trolleys respectively.
Search continues for missing man
An air and sea search resumed yesterday off Downpatrick Head, Co Mayo, for a man in his 30s who has been missing since Christmas Eve. He was last seen in Bangor Erris, Co Mayo, on Wednesday and his car was located near Downpatrick Head. The Coast Guard helicopter, lifeboats and cliff rescue units joined the search.
Ronnie's swansong a platinum hit
Ronnie Drew's final record The Last Session: A Fond Farewell was at number 25 in the Irish charts last week and has reached platinum disc sales levels. Awarded four stars by Hot Press and the Irish Times, the album was recorded between November 2007 and May 2008, with Ronnie singing the old and the new, backed by a Hugh Buckley-led jazz ensemble. Among the tracks already established among the public's favourites are duets with Damien Dempsey, Mary Coughlan and Emmanuel Lawlor.
See People, Page 18
Anniversary Mass for Joe Dolan
Hundreds of fans will remember singer Joe Dolan at his first anniversary Mass today in Mullingar. Family, friends and supporters of the singer, who died on St Stephen's Day 2007, will pray for Joe Dolan in the Cathedral of Christ the King and later at his graveside in Walshetown Cemetery.
Lucky winner scoops €2m Lotto prize
THERE was one winner of last night's €2m Lotto jackpot. The numbers drawn were 3, 4, 22, 30, 33, 41 (bonus 21).
There were no Match 5+bonus winners; 35 Match 5s (€2,029); 95 Match 4+bonus (€188); 1,840 Match 4s (€60); 2,754 Match 3+bonus (€27); and 33,631 Match 3s (€5).
The Lotto Plus 1 numbers were 8, 11, 13, 24, 29, 38 (bonus 28) and the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 6, 8, 25, 32, 36, 45 (bonus 7).
In the UK draw for a £3.1m jackpot, the numbers were 7, 10, 24, 39, 40, 42 (bonus 5). The UK prize fund was reduced due to technical difficulties which prevented tickets being sold for several hours yesterday.
Stumps for State's oldest cricketer
Paddy Waldron, believed to be Ireland's oldest capped cricket player, has died in Dublin. Patrick Henry Pearse Waldron, born in Carrigaholt, Co Clare, was aged 90 and first played for Ireland against Scotland in 1946. A barrister, he was a member of the Merrion Cricket Club.
He died on St Stephen's Day at St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin. His removal from Fanagan's Funeral Home, Aungier Street, will take place at 4.30pm tomorrow to arrive at the Church of the Holy Name, Beechwood Avenue, at 5pm. His burial will take place at Deansgrange cemetery after 11am Mass on Tuesday.