Monday 23 October 2017

We need to see political will so all our citizens are treated as equals

A tragic claimed the lives of 10 people including pregnant mum Tara Gilbert, her partner Willie Lynch and their two daughters Kelsey and Jodie
A tragic claimed the lives of 10 people including pregnant mum Tara Gilbert, her partner Willie Lynch and their two daughters Kelsey and Jodie
Miriam Donohoe

Miriam Donohoe

The joyful family picture posted online yesterday of Tara Gilbert, her partner Willie Lynch and their gorgeous blonde-haired daughters Kelsey and Jodie, is a million miles away from the unthinkable fire tragedy in which they perished at a Traveller halting site in south Dublin in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The entire family, along with six other members of the Travelling community, died in the biggest fire disaster in Ireland since the Stardust nightclub fire in Artane, Dublin, on Valentine's Day in 1981. If you take into account Tara and Willie's unborn child, the actual death toll from this weekend is 11.

It was heartening to see the huge outpouring of solidarity and support yesterday for the close-knit Travelling community, who are desperately trying to come to terms with their harrowing loss. Full credit to Ray D'Arcy for mentioning it at the beginning of his show on RTÉ One on Saturday night. And it is right that flags are to fly at half mast over Government Buildings during the funerals and that a minute's silence was held before the Ireland-Poland soccer match last night. There is no doubt the hearts of Ireland are with them.

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