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'There's a huge dark cloud over us all... there are no answers'

Dad of three dead children 'helpless' as he attends mass

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Tragic siblings Conor (9), Carla (3) and Darragh (7) with their dad Andrew McGinley

Tragic siblings Conor (9), Carla (3) and Darragh (7) with their dad Andrew McGinley

Tragic siblings Conor (9), Carla (3) and Darragh (7) with their dad Andrew McGinley

Toxicology results will provide investigators with an insight into the cause of death of three siblings found dead in a house in west Dublin.

Conor (9), Darragh (7) and Carla (3) McGinley were found at their Newcastle home on Friday evening. Their mother, Deirdre Morley, was found there in a distressed state.

Over the weekend the children's father, Andrew McGinley, was seen sobbing at the back of the local St Finian's Church, Newcastle, where he was being comforted by the community.

Officers are awaiting further toxicology reports, while the mother of the children continues to receive hospital treatment.

Inconclusive

The post-mortems of the children have been completed by Assistant State Pathologist Margot Bolster.

Gardai will not be publishing the interim results "for operational reasons". It is understood they were inconclusive.

Investigating officers are waiting for approval from her doctors to interview Ms Morley.

No arrests have been made and gardai continue to investigate "all circumstances".

The siblings have been described as "beautiful" children, two big brothers who cherished their little sister, a girl who watched from her buggy as her siblings played football on Saturday mornings.

However, only hours before they were due at their usual spot on the children's pitches at Rathcoole Boys FC, the children were together at home for the last time.

Mr McGinley was determined to thank the community who are supporting him through the darkness, and they wept with him.

"The children's father Andrew came to morning mass at 10am on Saturday," Fr John Gilligan told the Herald.

"We were shocked he'd thought to come along, but he wanted to thank the community and you could see how much he valued the community's support.

"He was so helpless. Some of the dads were in tears. I've been a priest for a long time and I've seen some very sad losses, but for a community to lose three children, it's just un- believable."

A mass was also said yesterday at noon, when the children were remembered.

The boys' principal, Siobh- an Mhic Gearailt from Scoil Chronain in Rathcoole, and members of the Happy Feet nursery were at the service.

"Families are really strugg-ling, the community is strugg-ling. I relayed the loss we all felt and made tribute to the families across our community," Fr Gilligan said.

"Mums and dads gathered round in the car park after mass, huddled round, supporting each other.

"During the mass, I asked the children's principal Siobhan to say a few words.

"It's so sad, she's preparing to see the boys' class friends knowing the boys won't be there. A child psychologist will be there in school giving support and she assured parents the school would do their best for the children.

"I asked the community to support each other. All the girls from the Happy Feet creche were here at church to remember Carla.

"They were relaying stories of Carla's mum bringing her to creche every morning and how happy the little girl was.

"But they were all in bits. The community is rallying round but there's a huge, dark cloud over us and all we could do was be there for each other but there is no language to express such a loss."

Although matches were cancelled yesterday at Rathcoole Boys FC, coaches still attended on Saturday to offer children games as a means of offering comfort through a familiar activity.

"What do you say to the children's friends? They've lost their companions," Fr Gilligan said. "It's hard for them to grasp. They don't understand. Some of the children said to me, 'They're angels in heaven'.

Devastating

"But it's so tough. Some of the parents are trying, but there's no answers."

One mother said she had been due to go on holiday but felt she should cancel.

Fr Gilligan was clearly strugg-ling with the loss.

"I was chaplain in DCU for 16 years, I was chaplain at Holles Street for nine years," he said.

"To lose a mother, a child, in hospital is tragic, but for three children from one family who were so young to be wiped out at once, it's just devastating."

It is believed Mr McGinley is originally from Donegal town and the children's mother is from Crumlin.

Until around 18 months ago they had lived in Springbank, Saggart, Co Dublin.

A book of condolence was opened at the church yesterday and last night there were plans to open one at the local council offices.

The McGinley boys were understood to have attended a drama group. The children were said to have enjoyed a packed social calendar.

Dave Hennessy, chairman of Rathcoole Boys FC, said: "Conor was playing for the under-10s and he was a lovely little child, a very popular lad.

"Darragh was in the academy last year and he played for the under-eights. The family really were always round the club.

"Little Carla was lovely, she was one of those children, she would make you smile. She'd come up in the buggy and she'd be round with her brothers.

"Matches are now cancelled and we are making counsellors available to children. This tragedy has had a huge effect on the community, on children, families and the coaches here."