Sunday 18 February 2018

'Complete shock' at tragic deaths

Mary Fogarty

The grandmother of two of the children who died in a fire in Clondalkin has paid tribute to little Jordan and Holly.

Marion McGinn is the mother of Jamie, who is Holly and Jordan’s dad, and he is Biddy’s husband. ‘They were two lovely children,’ said Marion.

‘Jamie was hyper at that age, I couldn’t believe that this grandson was so good and so quiet! Holly was just a little angel. Jordan was so kind to her, he used to mind her.

‘It was a cruel thing to happen,’ she said of the tragedy which took Annmarie O’Brien (27), her daughter Hannah-Paris Patel (2), Jordan McGinn (4), and Holly McGinn (3).

Annmarie was expecting a little boy, AJ, in the coming weeks.

Her cousin Biddy McGinn (O’Brien) was staying overnight with her children Jordan and Holly when the fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday, March 8.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the blaze.

Both Annmarie and Biddy were natives of Fassaroe in Bray, later moving to the Shankill area. Biddy’s mother Bridey took Annmarie in following the death of her mother Mary.

She also took in Andy, Annmarie’s brother, who sadly died in a fire in a prefabricated building behind Christ Church in Bray seven years ago.

Annmarie and Biddy’s aunt is related by marriage to the Lynch family, devastated 17 months ago when the Carrickmines fire tragedy claimed the lives of Thomas and Sylvia Connors, their children Jim, Christy and Mary, Willy Lynch and his partner Tara Gilbert, their unborn child, their daughters Jodie and Kelsey, and Jimmy Lynch.

Jim O’Brien of the Bray Travellers Community Development Group, and a cousin of Annmarie and Biddy, said that Traveller and settled communities were united, both then and now.

‘When we talk about solidarity, I’ve seen that. I saw it with Carrickmines, I witnessed both communities coming together and showing that respect and now I’m seeing it again,’ said Jim.

He said that in one week they went from the joy of being recognised as an ethnic minority, to facing the horror of tragedy once again.

‘Many of us didn’t make the connection in Bray when the news broke of a tragic fire in Dublin,’ said Jim.

He blessed himself when he heard a news bulletin about the sad deaths in Clondalkin. ‘It didn’t dawn on me. All of a sudden I got a phone call from their auntie about what happened.’

He said that in the aftermath of Carrickmines, Annmarie and Biddy never left the Lynch home at Sally’s Rest in Bray.

Everyone saw Biddy and Annmarie as sisters, he said. ‘They were that close.’ Biddy was helping Annmarie to prepare of the exciting arrival of her new baby boy, due next week.

He said that the three children Jordan, Holly and Paris were very close and played together all the time.

‘These are the memories we’re not going to see again,’ said Jim.

‘Annmarie was absolutely a lovely person,’ said Jim. ‘She has built up a large number of friendships with young people of her age, ever since she was born and reared around the Fassaroe area.

‘She got on very well and attended St Kieran’s training centre. A number of her tutors were there today. She was an absolutely devoted mother, a lovely person and a well-liked person.’

Meanwhile, her cousin Biddy is seriously ill in St James’s Hospital. ‘Biddy would be absolutely the same,’ said Jim. ‘Everywhere you see Biddy, you see the children.’

‘Ourselves and the Travelling Community are still in complete shock. The family still have a long road to go with Biddy being very, very sick,’ said Jim.

‘The people of Clondalkin and Sonas have been second to none,’ he said. ‘There have been heartfelt messages since it happened, nationwide. The solidarity is real. Travellers are always going to be different, but not completely different than a settled person out there when it comes to grieving. It brings everyone together. The support is real out there from people far and near in the settled community.

‘This small organisation didn’t think we would be going through something like this again so soon after Carrickmines,’ said Jim, adding that the development group has supports available on standby which may help people affected by this tragedy.

Bray People

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