Monday 26 September 2016

President Higgins shocked and saddened by 'most dreadful tragedy'

Five children, including baby, among ten people dead following deadly blaze

David Kearns

Published 10/10/2015 | 16:56

President Michael D Higgins
President Michael D Higgins

President Michael D Higgins expressed his shock and sadness over the news that ten members of the same extended family lost their lives in a house fire in Dublin.

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Describing the incident as the “most dreadful tragedy”, Mr Higgins said his thoughts were with the “families and friends of those who have lost their lives and those who were injured.”

"I have asked to be kept informed on this shocking event throughout the day,” he added.

The Irish President commended the "heroic efforts" of the emergency services who risked their lives to rescue a number of children from the blaze, which claimed ten members, including five children, from the same extended family.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny added his condolences, saying that the fire this morning on a halting site in Carrickmines, south Dublin, was an "unspeakable tragedy".

A second couple had two children with them and were visiting the couple last night.

Mr Kenny said he wished to join with President Higgins in expressing his sympathies on behalf of the Irish people to the relatives and friends of those who died.

Read More: Two couples and five children including baby among ten people dead following blaze

Speaking in Castlebar this afternoon, the Taoiseach said his thoughts were with the bereaved, adding that there would be a full technical examination to ascertain the exact cause of the blaze and to identify how the fire spread.

He said he had been in contact with ministers Alan Kelly and Alex White throughout the day, and praised emergency services for their rapid response to the 999 call they received at around 4:25 am.

Mr Kenny added that nothing he could say or do “could ease the pain for relatives of the dead in coming to terms with what was a tragic, horrible incident.”

Early indications are that all the deceased were sleeping in one portacabin that caught fire.

A statement from Southside Traveller Action Group confirmed that ten members from two families were among the victims.

Gardai and fire services at the entrance of the halting site of the tragic fire at Glenamuck Road, Carrickmines, this morning. Photo: Tony Gavin.
Gardai and fire services at the entrance of the halting site of the tragic fire at Glenamuck Road, Carrickmines, this morning. Photo: Tony Gavin.

The group that nine of the victims died at the scene, while another person died in hospital.

“Families gathered today at our centre in southside Dublin where we are doing everything we can to support them. We thank the gardaí for their support at this time and appeal to the media to respect the privacy of the families of those who died,” the group said in a statement.

Tánaiste Joan Burton offered her deepest sympathies, saying that she wished those injured the “very best with their recovery”.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams expressed his deep shock over the fatal fire and said he wanted to commend the fire fighters and first responders who had been attending the scene.

Fire Officer Denis Keely and Garda Superintendent Martin Fitzgerald and Chief Superintendent Diarmuid O'Sullivan at the entrance of the halting site of the tragic fire at Glenmaluck Road, Carrickmines, this morning. Photo: Tony Gavin. Photo: Tony Gavin 10/10/2015
Fire Officer Denis Keely and Garda Superintendent Martin Fitzgerald and Chief Superintendent Diarmuid O'Sullivan at the entrance of the halting site of the tragic fire at Glenmaluck Road, Carrickmines, this morning. Photo: Tony Gavin. Photo: Tony Gavin 10/10/2015

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he was extremely shocked by the tragic fire.

“I know our emergency services are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances since early this morning to deal with this incident and they are to be commended for their service," he added.

Ronnie Fay, Co-Director of Pavee Point Travellers' Centre, offered her condolences to the families and friends of the victims on behalf of the centre

."From talking to some of the families on the ground it seems to be an appalling tragedy we offer our condolences to the family and hope that they are being supported," she told RTE News.

"We know that the local traveller group on the ground in the area are offering good support to those families.”

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