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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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Youngest survivor of Carrickmines fire 'doing okay' one month on

The investigation into the cause of the blaze that killed 10 people – including young children – is ongoing.

A vigil is held in the days after the Carrickmines tragedy.
A vigil is held in the days after the Carrickmines tragedy.
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE YOUNG BOY who lost both his parents and three siblings in the Carrickmines fire is said to be recovering well, one month on from the tragedy.

“He’s doing okay physically. There are a number of follow-ups happening with his care,” a source said.

Four-year-old Tom Connors was released from hospital on 21 October, ahead of the funeral service for his parents Thomas and Sylvia and their three children Jim (5), Christy (3) and baby Mary (5 months). The family were laid to rest in Wexford. Tom’s brother Michael (5) was unharmed as he was not sleeping in the same prefab.

The children are now being cared for by their grandparents.

Willie Lynch, his partner Tara Gilbert, their two children Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4), and Willie’s brother Jimmy Lynch (39) also died when a blaze ripped through two prefabricated housing units on Glenamuck Road in the early hours of 10 October.

Survivors have been housed at a Council-owned car park adjacent to the Ballyogan Works Department, after objections to a temporary halting site at Rockville Drive in Carrickmines, close to the scene of the tragedy.

Emergency fund

An emergency fund established to assist the families is due to close down this Friday.

Set up by the Society of St Vincent de Paul on behalf of the Southside Travellers Action Group, the money raised will be managed by a committee headed by Colin Thomson of Catholic social care agency Crosscare.

The funds will be allocated by the committee following meetings with the families, chair of the STAG Francis O’Rourke said. (Donations can be made at the AIB branch in Dundrum, or online).

The families who lost loved ones “have what they need in the short-term in terms of basics,” O’Rourke said. She added that those who survived the halting site fire had “lost everything” and would continue to need help.

“We’re also working with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council to make sure they get long-term accommodation arranged as soon as possible.”

It’s important to the families that they stay together, O’Rourke noted, and that they remain in the area.

Investigation

The investigation into the cause of the blaze is ongoing, and the Department of the Environment has ordered a national risk assessment of all Traveller halting sites, to be carried out by local authorities.

“We’ve discussed that with the Department of the Environment and we’re very anxious that the work is carried out,” O’Rourke said.

“Every Traveller in the country will be concerned about fire safety in the wake of the fire.”

‘Month’s Mind’ masses are not expected to take place to mark the anniversaries of the deaths of the victims.

Many Travellers observe a ‘ninth day’ tradition whereby the families return to the graves nine days after the burial to show their respect. It’s understood that tradition was observed by the families in recent weeks.

Read: “We’re going ‘mother of God, how are we going to survive in this country?’” >

More: Accommodation for Carrickmines survivors found – but NOT in Rockville Drive >

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