Tragic death of Elzbieta shocks the community
The town of Ardee was thrust into the spotlight when the body of a 57-year-old Polish woman was found at her home in Clonmore. Since then, a community has united. Hubert Murphy reports
The Church of the Nativity of Our Lady in Ardee has always been a place of great solace for generations of locals. In good times and bad, it has been a guiding light.
That beacon shone brightly again last Thursday morning as people gathered to remember a 'lovely, beautiful woman' - Elzbieta Piotrowska (57).
Her tragic death last Tuesday morning sent shockwaves through the area.
She came from a town in West central Poland called Wrzesnia and life would bring her to Ardee and Clonmore about a decade ago.
Those who met her in the local shops would describe her as a gentle woman who went about her life with a smile, but someone who had adapted to her community and was as much a part of Ardee as anyone else.
Her husband, Krzystztof, works in Coach Trim, where he and his wife, are very popular.
Around 11.30am last Tuesday, her body was found by a shocked neighbour and gardai and the emergency services were called.
So began a series of events that saw houses in the greater Ardee area searched, a couple sealed off and technically examined. These areas included the Bridge Street area of Ardee town; the Cherrybrook estate and the Mandistown area in Drumconrath.
Supt Des McTiernan spoke to the media later in the day, stating they had found Elzbieta 'very seriously injured' and she was later pronounced dead at the scene.
'I am appealing to anybody else who has anything to offer in particular, in the Clonmore estate area, Cherrybrook, Bridge Street, and most importantly the Mandistown area in Drumconrath, to come forward. People might think 'I may have seen something, I don't think it's that important'. Please ring and let us decide that. We need your co-operation."
Local man Richard Lynch, who rented the house to the Piotrowski family, also paid tribute to the victim and her family, saying she was a lovely woman.
The arrest of a man took place later that day and he was subsequently charged.
Her death was mourned by many and on Thursday they were afforded the chance to stand - shoulder to shoulder - with members of the Polish community in Ardee.
After the 10am mass, Fr Peter Murphy CC and Fr Slater CC gathered hundreds together in the church for the Rosary.
Many didn't know Elzbieta but wanted to be there. Others came from the close-knit Polish community, clearly shocked by what had happened.
The ceremony was touching and poignant and did much to sooth the soul at such a time.
Those at Ardee Coach Trim expressed their 'pain and sadness' at the loss of an 'energetic, enthusiastic and always cheerful' colleague.
She worked in the firm with beloved husband, Krzystof.
'Krzystof has been a hard working, loyal employee, since they both came to live in Ardee over 10 years now. Elzbieta known to us affectionately as 'Ella' worked with us too. She was a pleasure to work with,' Frank Lennon from the family company stated.
'We knew her beautiful daughter, Justyna, and husband Janusz and two grandchildren too and extend our deepest condolences to them all. We are here to support them in any way possible to ease their pain and sadness,' he added.
He said the whole workforce and the Lennon family was simply devastated by the tragedy and is struggling to come to terms with it.
'We have initiated supportive intervention for all workers. Some were closer to the family and are more severely impacted. We will continue to support these workers in the difficult days ahead. We hold Kryzstof and his family in our prayers and will be here for him in whatever way he finds helpful,' Frank added.
Last Thursday evening, members of the local municipal council met under a cloud at the civic offices for their monthly gathering.
They had spent the previous two days at the centre of the storm in many ways, answering questions, asking questions, trying to reassure a community.
But as Cathaoirleach Pearse McGeough remarked, Elzbieta's death had, and will have, a far reaching impact for so many.
'We send our sympathy to her family and friends,' he stated. He also paid tribute to the gardai and the emergency services who had to deal with the aftermath of the discovery.
'We should also pay tribute to the great people of Ardee who have had to deal with this dreadful event in their midst.'
Cllr Dolores Minogue said that all the support possible should be given to those so impacted by the discovery of Elzbieta's body. 'Her neighbours, the paramedics and gardai need our support,' she explained. 'Members of the Polish community are absolutely heartbroken by this. They are well established in Ardee and this is so hard for them.'
She also said that she had spoken with Women's Aid and the fact that two women had been killed in recent times was shocking and she felt that women must be protected.
Cllr Liam Reilly too urged support for all those impacted, as did Cllrs Colm Markey, Tom Cunningham and Jim Tenanty.
Gardaí are still appealing for information. Contact Drogheda Garda Station on 041 9874200,