Tuesday 20 February 2018

Carrickmines fire victims died of carbon monoxide poisoning, inquest hears

People pay their respects at Glenamuck Road South in Carrickmines, Co Dublin, in the aftermath of the tragic fire that claimed the lives of 10 members of the Travelling community. Photo Collins
People pay their respects at Glenamuck Road South in Carrickmines, Co Dublin, in the aftermath of the tragic fire that claimed the lives of 10 members of the Travelling community. Photo Collins
Flowers at Glenamuck Road to commemorate the victims of the Carrickmines halting site fire that claimed ten lives. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Flowers, messages and toys left at the scene of the fire which resulted in the deaths of 10 people at a halting site on Glenamuck Road South, Carrickmines

Louise Roseingrave

All ten victims of a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines died of carbon monoxide poisoning, an inquest heard.

An inquest into the deaths following a fire at Glenamuck Halting site heard that the garda investigation into the fire is ongoing.

The devastating blaze claimed the lives of five adults and five children after it broke out in the early hours of October 10 2015.

The victims were Thomas Connors (27) his wife Sylvia (30) and their children Jim, five, Christy, three, and six-month-old Mary; Willie Lynch (25) his partner 27-year-old Tara Gilbert, who was pregnant, and their daughters Jodie, aged nine, and Kelsey, four; and 39-year-old Jimmy Lynch, a brother of Willy. The victims were residents of Glenamuck Halting site, Carrickmines, Dublin 24.

Garda Charlie Dempsey took the stand at Dublin Coroner's Court to confirm the details of the identification process for each individual victim.

The five adults and four of the children were identified using DNA evidence with the assistance of Dr Alan Magee, the court heard. The additional services of forensic dentist Dr Mary Clarke were used in the identification of some of the younger related siblings.

Six month old baby Mary Connors was formally identified by her relative, Dan Connors at the children's accident and emergency department at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin. Mr Connors identified the baby's remains to Garda Robert Whitty.

The ten post-mortem examinations were carried out by State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy and Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.

The cause of death returned for all ten victims of the blaze was acute carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation due to a fire.

Four relatives of the victims were present in court as Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane outlined the scope of the inquest. She told family members that the inquiry into all ten deaths will be treated as one inquest as the circumstances of all ten deaths are the same.

"We will not hold a number of inquests in this case because the circumstances are tragically the same. Today we are opening what is called a joinder inquest in relation to all of the people who died in this fire," Dr Cullinane said. Gardai at Dun Laoghaire garda station applied for a six month adjournment of the inquest to allow for ongoing investigations.

Dr Cullinane adjourned the inquest under section 25 subsection 1 of the Coroner's Act until September 21 for further mention.

The coroner extended her sympathies to all those bereaved by the tragedy.

"Clearly the evidence in court testifies to the scale of the loss of life suffered by the families and the community. It must be very difficult to bear," the coroner said.

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