Wednesday 17 January 2018

Father whose daughter died in fire may never walk again

Luke Byrne

THE father who fell from a roof while trying to rescue his three young daughters from a fire may never walk again.

Richard Connolly (27) fell around 12ft on to a concrete step on Monday at his home in Roscommon as he tried to get his daughters to safety. One of them, five-year-old Mari, did not make it.

Mr Connolly's father, also named Richard, has said his son cannot feel his legs. However, he has asked to be brought back from the Mater Hospital in Dublin for Mari's funeral on Tuesday.

"Every day he is in pain, he has no feelings in his legs and he will be there for three or four months in rehab," Mr Connolly said.

"He'll be here on Monday evening. He'll be in Sligo General Hospital as a request of his own because he wants to be at his daughter's funeral."

He added: "They'll bring him up for the burial on Tuesday, then he's back to Dublin for about three or four months."

Describing her brother as a hero, his sister Orla Connolly said there were concerns about whether he would ever walk again but that he remained positive and determined to do so.

"He's very sick," she said before telling the Irish Independent that her brother wanted people to know that he had not left little Mari behind.

Mr Connolly noticed the fire at around 2.30 on Monday morning. He planned to place the children on the back roof, break his next-door neighbour's window, help the girls through and run to the front door.

Support

However, after putting the girls on the roof, he slipped and fell. Naomi (6) and Lauren (8) survived after he told them to jump down, but a scared Mari crawled back into the house.

Mr Connolly Snr said that he would like to thank everybody for their support.

"I'd like to say a million words of thanks to everybody, the media, the gardai, the fire services, the emergency services -- everybody in this world who are thinking of us," he said

"We've had very much support from the community around, it's very much a close community, everyone far and wide has phoned me and sent messages to me."

On Thursday evening, a woman was arrested and questioned over the fire, which investigating gardai believe was started deliberately. A 33-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday but released without charge on Thursday night.

Irish Independent

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