herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Tragic mum was a relative of Carrickmines blaze victims

Tara Gilbert and Willie Lynch
Tara Gilbert and Willie Lynch

The manner of the deaths of Annemarie O'Brien and her daughter Paris will bring back haunting memories of the Carrickmines fire tragedy for her family.

Ms O'Brien (27) was related to members of the Lynch family who died when an inferno engulfed a halting site in south Dublin in October 2015.

In that incident Jimmy Lynch (39), Willie Lynch (25), his partner Tara Gilbert (27) and their children Jodie (9) and four-year-old Kelsey were all killed.

Thomas Connors (27), his wife Sylvia (25) and three of their children - Jim (5), Christy (2) and five-month-old Mary - also died.

Ms O'Brien attended the funerals of those victims and, like all members of the community from the area, was deeply impacted by the tragedy.

She was particularly close to Ms Gilbert, who was pregnant when she died.

In a cruel twist, Ms O'Brien, who has now died at the same age as Tara, was also seven months pregnant.

Critical

Her two-year-old daughter Paris was also killed when the fire ripped through a home in Kilcronan Avenue, in Clondalkin, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Ms O'Brien's cousin Biddy O'Brien remained in a critical condition in St James' Hospital last night. It is understood that Biddy had been visiting the complex when tragedy struck. Her daughter Holly (3) and son Jordan (4) also lost their lives.

Their cousin, Jim O'Brien, who works with the Bray Travellers Community Development Group, told the Herald that the tragedy had reopened still raw wounds.

"For another fire to happen like that, it's opened up all the old wounds," he said.

Ms O'Brien was raised in the Fassaroe area of Bray, Co Wicklow, and Shankill, Dublin, as was Biddy who was "like her sister".

Mr O'Brien described her as a "lovely young lady" and said he was praying that Biddy would pull through.

"Anne would be closely related to one of the siblings who married into the Lynch family," he said of her connection to the Carrickmines tragedy.

Dark

"She was very well liked. I never heard anything bad said about Anne."

Mr O'Brien said the community was now facing carrying more coffins.

"There are hard days ahead, dark days as I see them," he added.

Ms O'Brien was well known in the Bray area and Mr O'Brien said he expected both the Traveller and settled community to come together in mourning. "She loved life," he said.

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