Sunday 28 May 2017

Mum who survived Clondalkin tragedy learns of the death of her two small children in the blaze

Biddy O'Brien
Biddy O'Brien
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The sole survivor of a fire which killed three children and one pregnant woman has only just learned that her two small children perished in the blaze.

Biddy O'Brien, a mum-of-two from Dublin, was staying over with her cousin Anne Marie O'Brien when a fire broke out in a woman's refuge in Clondalkin in March.

Her two children, Jordan (4) and three-year-old Holly died in the fire.  Her cousin Anne Marie and her child Paris (3) also died in the blaze.

Some six weeks on Biddy remains in intensive care but has regained consciousness in recent days.

Her devastated partner Jamie broke the news to her this week that her children are dead.

Jim O'Brien, a cousin of the victims, said that breaking the heartbreaking news had been a "weight on his shoulders".

Victims of Clondalkin fire. (From left clockwise) Holly (3), AnneMarie (27), Biddy (aged in her 30s), Jordan (4) and Paris (2) O'Brien
Victims of Clondalkin fire. (From left clockwise) Holly (3), AnneMarie (27), Biddy (aged in her 30s), Jordan (4) and Paris (2) O'Brien

Telling her was "something that was a great burden on his shoulders, he had been preparing himself to do it" he said.

"It's been a very difficult time for her partner Jamie," he said.

"I think it's a great burden taken off his shoulders  and now he can certainly move on that because with Biddy not knowing anything...  Jamie's has had that great weight lifted.

"I would say that's a relief to get over that one hurdle because that's been a great weight on his shoulders

"Every day is going to be very important for both of them."

"Everyone would know that they were very strong family people = and come from a strong family network and that bit of strength will help them move forward at this very, very difficult time," he said.

Jordan O'Brien (4)
Jordan O'Brien (4)

Biddy's family are maintaining a constant presence at her bedside and are hopeful for her recovery but it "will take time" Mr O'Brien said.

"In the 24 hours after the tragedy the family were more or less organising a priest and she has come through that.

"Each day that she is in there she is getting stronger."

Mr O'Brien said the stream of well-wishes from people up and down the country has been very valuable for the family and is continuing.

Holly O'Brien
Holly O'Brien

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