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Find the arsonist who destroyed our family

A HEARTBROKEN family who lost a daughter and grandson in an arson attack has appealed to the public to help gardai catch the killer.

Joe O'Dwyer (55) -- who lost his daughter Helena (25) and his grandson Ryan (5) in the Easter Sunday firebomb attack in Cork -- told the Herald his entire family was devastated by the loss of two precious and deeply loved family members.

"Helena was a lovely, normal 25 year old who was doing her best to rear her beloved daughter Courtney," he said.


"She adored her daughter, who from the moment she arrived brought love into all our lives. Ryan and Courtney [his cousin] were like twins. They were both five and they did everything together."

Mr O'Dwyer and his wife, Helena Snr (49), said the two five-year-olds had helped them cope with a previous tragedy.

"They were both born around the time that we lost our youngest son William (14) in 2005 and they helped us cope with our grief at that time."

William died when the car in which he was a back seat passenger spun out of control on the Monahan Road in Cork.

Mr O'Dwyer said: "We want to appeal to people to assist the gardai in helping to bring Helena's and Ryan's killer to justice. Even the smallest piece of information can help."

It emerged last night that Helena had been the target of threats and abusive phone calls over the past fortnight. She had even been attacked in her Cork bungalow last week.

She was afraid to spend Easter alone -- and her parents insisted she pass the bank holiday weekend with them. However, less than 12 hours after Helena and Courtney moved into the family's Nutley Avenue home in Mahon, it was the target of a petrol bomb attack.

Joe, his wife, daughter Dawn (22) and grandchildren William (4), Katelyn (2) and Courtney narrowly escaped death in the 3.15am attack. Ryan's mother Josephine was not in the house at the time.

Helena had apparently run into an upstairs bedroom to rescue Ryan, but was overcome by smoke and fumes.

Mr O'Dwyer's appeal came as a 22-year old man -- who is from Mahon and was known to the deceased -- arrested by gardai for questioning about the fire was released without charge last night.