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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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'The grieving is absolutely unreal': Travelling community devastated after Clondalkin fire

The fire claimed the lives of four people when it broke out early yesterday morning.

000db8f7-800 Annemarie O'Brien (bottom left), her daughter Paris (top left) and her niece and nephew Holly and Jordan all died in the fire in March 2017. Source: Facebook

Updated 5.20pm

MEMBERS OF THE Travelling community have said they are devastated by the deaths of a young mother and three children in a fire in Clondalkin yesterday.

Jim O’Brien of the Bray Travellers Community Development Group told RTÉ News the “grieving is absolutely unreal”.

Annmarie O’Brien (27) and her daughter Paris O’Brien (2) both died following the fire. Annmarie was also seven months pregnant.

Three year-old Holly also died in the blaze. Her brother Jordan (4) was taken to hospital with critical injuries and died yesterday evening.

Their mother Biddy O’Brien remains in hospital following the fire, her condition is described as critical. All four who died are originally from the Bray area in Co Wicklow.

A garda investigation into what caused the fire is continuing.

Jim O’Brien told RTÉ the tragedy had reopened the wounds of the Travelling community, who were still coming to terms with the deaths of 10 people in a fire at a halting site in Carrickmines in October 2015. The victims of both tragedies were related.

He said words cannot describe the devastation and hurt the families are going through, adding that a mass was held yesterday for Travellers to pray for those who died and for Biddy’s recovery.

Cluainin Cronan

Earlier, it was confirmed that three families who had been staying at the complex where the fire broke out have been rehoused.

Families staying at the Cluainin Cronan facility on Kilcronan Avenue, Clondalkin, were successfully re-housed yesterday following the blaze, which broke out in one apartment unit.

Cluainin Cronan is a step-down supported social housing complex operated by domestic abuse support charity Sonas.

The facility is for women and families that have moved on from a crisis refuge centre. The purpose of the facility is for families to prepare to move back to normal life.

The entire development is made up of six two-storey houses and an apartment complex with four apartments (so 10 units in total).

Speaking this morning to TheJournal.ie, Fiona Ryan, CEO of Sonas, said the charity had been “lucky” and had managed to find suitable alternative accommodation for the three families.

“We were able to get the families into our refuge and other step-down facilities,” said Ryan.

We were very lucky as we had vacancies in some of our facilities.

Ryan said that Sonas was working to support the emotional needs of the families, who had been through a traumatic experience.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, local Sinn Féin TD John Brady expressed his condolences for the victims’ families.

“Can I just express my condolences to both families and their friends who are really deeply stricken by this dreadful, terrible event that unfolded before our eyes,” he said.

Brady said that the O’Brien family were related to the victims of the Carrickmines fire.

“It has reopened very, very painful memories of recent tragedies that have taken members of the travelling community in Carrickmines to which the O’Brien families are related,” he said.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

Read: Woman and two young girls killed in overnight apartment fire >

Read: Victims of Clondalkin fire named as death toll reaches four

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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