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Sunday 11 December 2016

Council say that safety checks were up-to-date as Carrickmines fire probe continues

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Child among the flowers
Child among the flowers

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said the halting site where 10 people died on Glenamuck Road was checked last May and that fire extinguishers had been inspected and serviced every six months.

The tragedy happened at the site on the Glenamuck Road in Carrickmines, Co Dublin, at around 4am on Saturday.

Flames tore through a prefab, and the blaze quickly spread to a second home, leaving the victims with little chance of survival.

Tara Gilbert (27), who was four months pregnant, died along with her partner Willie Lynch (25) and their children Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4).

Willie's sister Sylvia Connors (25) also perished along with her husband Thomas (27) and three of their children - Jim (5), Christy (2) and five-month-old Mary. Jimmy Lynch (39), Willie and Sylvia's brother, was the 10th victim.

A 14-year-old was released from hospital last night while a four-year-old child is still being treated for his injuries.

Gardai said last night that they had not established what caused the devastating fire, but were still confident that the inferno was not started deliberately.

"There is nothing at this moment to suggest that the fire was started as a malicious act, but the exact cause of it has not yet been established," a senior source said.

Fergal Treanor, and his son, Enda, 4, originally from Cabinteely but know living in Cologne sign the book of condolences to the victims of the carrickmines Fire tragedy. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 12/10/2015
Fergal Treanor, and his son, Enda, 4, originally from Cabinteely but know living in Cologne sign the book of condolences to the victims of the carrickmines Fire tragedy. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 12/10/2015

Meanwhile, Lord Mayor of Dublin Criona Ni Dhalaigh has called for all halting sites to be checked for fire safety issues.

Speaking at the opening of the Mansion House's book of condolence for the tragedy, Ms Ni Dhalaigh said that she had called on her own council to carry out fire safety audits on all halting sites within its remit.

"We need to learn from this. It can never happen again and we need to make sure that our own halting sites are safe," she said. "I've called on Dublin City Council and I'm sure the other chairs and mayors of the other local authorities will do likewise."

Scene of the blaze
Scene of the blaze

The Lord Mayor added that city and county councils across Ireland should also carry out checks. Crowds gathered outside the Mansion House before the book's opening yesterday morning and rushed to pay their respects.

Meanwhile, a minute's silence was observed by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in memory of the victims.

The local authority's monthly meeting was adjourned as a mark of respect after councillors extended their sympathies to the families and friends of the victims of the blaze.

Scene of the blaze
Scene of the blaze

Councillors said the Carrickmines fire was a "local and national tragedy".

The site where the incident occurred was originally purchased for the provision of new road infrastructure identified in the Kilternan/Glenamuck Local Area Plan. It was made available to the families on a temporary basis in November 2008 after they presented to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in need of emergency accommodation.

The council confirmed that a fire hydrant was present at the site which was used by Dublin Fire Brigade.

"Accommodation on the site consists of three portable cabins and two caravans. One of these units was added to the site earlier in 2015 when the Council facilitated the addition of one extra unit on the site by the families. The Council extended the site at this time and also provided additional facilities and services for this extra unit," a representative said.

Inspects

"The Council routinely inspects and checks all of our halting sites on a regular basis. In line with best practice, the fire extinguishers on this site have been inspected and serviced every six months, with the last inspection and servicing taking place in May 2015."

It said that emergency accommodation has been arranged for those left homeless as a result of these events.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has also opened a special bank account to accept public donations for the families affected (AIB Main Street Dundrum Sort: 93-31-20. IBAN: IE38AIBK93312016005289. BIC: AIBKIE2D). Cheques can be sent to Finance Department, SVP East Region, 91-92 Sean McDermott Street, Dublin 1.

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