herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Taoiseach among numbed mourners to pay respects to victims

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the scene of where ten people from the traveller community died in the blaze that broke out at a halting site on Glenamuck Road in the early hours of Saturday morning
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the scene of where ten people from the traveller community died in the blaze that broke out at a halting site on Glenamuck Road in the early hours of Saturday morning

Flowers left by dozens of mourners marked the entrance to the halting site where five adults and five children died in a horror inferno.

From early morning, people gathered at the makeshift shrine around a statue of the Virgin Mary.

They came well into the late evening, some patiently waiting in line to place their flowers or to simply gaze silently ahead, lost in their thoughts.

While some stood in solemn silence, others struggled to hold back their tears.

The gutted shell of what was once a family home stood testament to unimag- inable heartbreak.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the scene of where ten people from the traveller community died in the blaze that broke out at a halting site on Glenamuck Road in the early hours of Saturday morning
Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the scene of where ten people from the traveller community died in the blaze that broke out at a halting site on Glenamuck Road in the early hours of Saturday morning

A teddy bear, a colouring book, toy tractors and three children's car seats served as a poignant reminder of happier times.

A group of 15 people from the nearby Kilternan Parish Church were among the mourners.

"We brought some flowers from our parish as a gesture of sympathy for the families," said Canon Adrian Empey.

"I was shattered to hear what had happened. It's the worst disaster since The Stardust.

"It's particularly difficult when young children with their whole lives in front of them die in such terrible circumstances."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrived shortly after midday to pay his respects on behalf of the nation, and took a brief moment to bless himself.

Visibly moved, he spent some time talking to mourners, all bonded by a shared grief.

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