Wednesday 21 March 2018

Carrickmines fire tragedy: Heartbroken family member describes how she tried to save life of baby girl

Candle tribtues to the Carrickmines fire victims. Photo: Herald
Candle tribtues to the Carrickmines fire victims. Photo: Herald

Robin Schiller

A heartbroken family member of the Carrickmines fire victims has revealed how she tried to save the life of the young baby girl who died in the blaze.

Kathleen Connors, the sister of Thomas Connors, who tragically died in the inferno, along with nine other people, was on the site on the night of the horrific blaze.

In a new RTÉ documentary, the survivors of last year's fatal fire relive the horror that occurred on the halting site, claiming the lives of 10 members of the Travelling community.

Kathleen Connors describes how she rescued baby Mary, the youngest victim of the blaze, when the first caravan caught fire. She put the five-month-old on her bed in a nearby caravan, before running back to the fire in a bid to save more family members.

However, when she looked back, she could see the other caravan had then caught fire, with baby Mary and other family members still inside.

"This is like a nightmare. It is not going in our brain that our brother and his family are dead, his wife and his babies," she said.

"My other brother passed me baby Mary and I put her in my bed, thinking she was safe. I pushed her in and by the time I looked back my place was gone.

"My child was coming running out the door. He tried to lift her out the door to me," she recalled, wiping away tears.

The documentary, 'I Am Traveller', follows 'Love/Hate' actor John Connors as he shares his views on racial stereotypes and Traveller identity in Irish society.


Later, in a further harrowing excerpt, Connors talks with a heartbroken teenager (also called John Connors), who rescued his young nephew on the night of the tragedy.

John Connors's brother Thomas (27), his wife Sylvia (25) and three of their children lost their lives in the fire.

Their four-year-old son Thomas was rescued from the site by his 15-year-old uncle, John, who said: "It burned down in five minutes. It was gone, Thomas and his family's place. I don't think I'll ever get a proper sleep again."

Irish Independent

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