Sunday 11 December 2016

Town set to come to a standstill as hundreds prepare to say final farewell to blaze tragedy victims

Published 20/10/2015 | 07:14

Mourners pay their respects at the removal in Bray
Mourners pay their respects at the removal in Bray

Five hearses will today bring Bray town centre to a standstill as the community gathers for the funeral of five of the victims of the horror Carrickmines inferno.

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Hundreds of mourners are expected to assemble at the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer to remember Willy Lynch (25), his partner Tara Gilbert (27), their two children Jody (9) and Kelsey (4), as well as Willy's brother Jimmy (39).

Last night, family and friends of the deceased attended a wake for their lost loved ones at Thomas Murphy and Sons funeral home in the north Wicklow town.

Just over a week after the devastating blaze at the Glenamuck Road halting site that killed 10 people - the worst such tragedy in Ireland since the Stardust fire, in 1981 - the grief was very raw.

More than 100 people arrived throughout the day, some bringing flowers, while others comforted grieving family members as a short service was held.

"We should share faith and hope through this most difficult time," the priest said, asking those present to pray for the deceased. "We have confidence in God, and now we pray to God for our father, our brother and our sister, for the death of our loved ones," he said.

Family

A number of streets will be closed in Bray for the funeral, which takes place at noon, with the family being laid to rest in Springfield Cemetery. There will be a removal for the other victims of the fire - the Connors family - tomorrow evening.

The remains of Sylvia Connors (25), her husband Thomas Connors (27) and their three children - Jim (5), Christy (2) and five-month-old baby Mary - will be brought to the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, Balally, at 5pm.

A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday morning before their bodies are brought to the Church of the Assumption, Bride Street, Wexford town. Burial in Crosstown Cemetery will take place after prayers in the church in Wexford at noon.

One of the survivors of the fire, Tom Connors (4), remains in hospital but his condition is said to be improving.

Meanwhile, a disagreement between residents of an estate proposed as a temporary accommodation for the survivors of the fire and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council is yet to be resolved.

The dispute started last Tuesday when residents of the Rockville Drive estate in Carrickmines prevented a construction crew from entering a plot of land in the estate to commence work on a temporary halting site for the 15 people who survived the devastating fire.

Talks have been ongoing for a week between people in the area and members of the council, but an agreement has yet to be reached.

Currently, the families are being accommodated on a nightly basis in temporary accommodation that will no longer be available after Wednesday.

Geraldine Dunne, director of the Southside Traveller Group, which has been assisting the relatives of the bereaved, described how the families are "desperate" to be allocated temporary accommodation.

Accommodation

"The families are getting desperate to know what will happen to them when the funerals are over on Friday. This situation has gone on for ten days, and a decision is necessary immediately to provide these families with a safe place to live," Ms Dunne said.

Communications Minister and local TD Alex White previously urged that there be generosity "in the face of such a dreadful, dreadful tragedy" to resolved the matter.

"I would just ask people to be as open as they can," he said.

"We live in the real world as well. We understand the fears that people have and the concerns, sometimes perhaps real, sometimes perceived," Mr White said at the weekend.

It is understood that a vacant Traveller housing scheme on Shanganagh Road, Killiney, has been earmarked as the new home for the 15 people left homeless by the fire, but refurbishment work there won't be finished until next year.

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