‘So A Tragedy Like This Never Occurs Again’


A vigil for the victims of the Carrickmines halting site fire in 2015


A jury at the Dublin Coroner’s Court returned a verdict of misadventure at the inquest into the deaths of 10 victims of the Carrickmines halting site fire in October 2015.

The Carrickmines fire claimed the lives of Thomas Connors (28), his wife Sylvia (30), and their children Jim (5), Christy (3) and five-month-old Mary.

Willie Lynch (25), his partner Tara Gilbert (27), who was pregnant, and her daughters Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4). Jimmy Lynch (39), a brother of Willie, also lost their lives in the fire.

The halting site had been established as emergency temporary accommodation and, the court heard, was exempt from planning and fire safety guidelines due to its ’emergency’ status.

Further to this…

The Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre have called for laws to be changed to make sure temporary emergency halting sites meet fire safety and planning regulations.

In a statement, Pavee Point Co-Director Martin Collins says:

“This has been a terrible time for the Lynch, Gilbert and Connors families who have had to relive the horror of that night in 2015.

“We hope that this inquest will bring some closure to the families and enable them to move on with their lives.

“Every support should be made available to support these bereaved family members. And we empathise with them at this time.

We are also calling on the Government to amend legislation to ensure that temporary emergency halting sites should meet fire safety and planning regulations so a tragedy like this never occurs again.

This was an emergency temporary site that had been there since 2008. These families should not have been left in these conditions for 7 years. The site was exempt from planning and fire regulations because of its ‘emergency’ status.

“We heard during the inquest that the portocabins did not meet building regulations and that the close proximity of the portocabins “virtually assured” that the fire would spread.

Under Department of the Environment guidelines for temporary halting sites, housing units are supposed to have at least six metres between them and families are supposed to only stay for up to five years.

There are currently temporary emergency sites in existence that have been there for 30 years. And each year money for Traveller accommodation is returned to central government by local authorities – unspent.”

Pavee Point Calls for New Laws for Temporary Emergency Halting Sites (Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre)

Misadventure verdicts on 10 deaths in Carrickmines fire (Louise Roseingrave, The Irish Times)

9 thoughts on “‘So A Tragedy Like This Never Occurs Again’

  1. Eoin

    Tragic loss of life, 10 people including five children, but what ever happened to the smoke alarm which was provided and referred to on the first day of the inquest? Did it just not work? And are we just going to ignore the fact the adults were heavily intoxicated with alcohol and benzos?

    ” the five adult victims had alcohol levels ranging from 152mgs per 100ml of blood in the case of Ms Gilbert, to 224mgs in the case of Mr Connors…Thomas Connors and Willie Lynch had less than therapeutic levels of benzodiazepines, while Tara Gilbert had therapeutic levels of benzodiazepines and sleeping tablets”

    1. Oily Cromwell

      “And are we just going to ignore the fact the adults were heavily intoxicated with alcohol and benzos?”

      Yes. People died. Victim blaming is for Gaemmon. Off you go now to the gym – Ben Dunne awaits you with a special offer.

    2. newsjustin

      It wasn’t ignored Eoin. Those facts are straight from evidence given at the inquest. And the verdict was death by misadventure.

      1. Ian-O

        Just because facts exists, doesn’t mean you have to air them.

        Would you walk up to a random, obese person in the street and tell them, quite factually, they are overweight and if they suffer cardiac problems, its their own fault?

        Would you tell a similar persons family that at the funeral?

        We know what happened now, but some people will use any reason to get the boot in, irrespective of the dead children involved.

        1. newsjustin

          I’m not sure if that reply was for me?
          I agree with you 100%. I was pointing out to Eoin that the facts are known.

      2. Eoin

        That’s right, “death by misadventure”, not “death by accident”, there’s a difference.

        Hard to say about alcohol consumption but a 12-stone woman two hours after alcohol consumption with 152 mg indicates consumption of 1.5 bottles wine; 15-stone man two hours after alcohol consumption with 225 mg indicates consumption of 3 bottles wine. All five adults have serious amount of drink taken. Still though, that’s not illegal.

        Benzos though? Were they legally prescribed or bought off the street? They’re powerful opiates, aren’t they. Regardless, you don’t mix them with alcohol.

        But what I’d really like to know is, what happened to the smoke alarm that was in the mobile home?

        “The jury also heard from Karl Drury, a council caretaker. He said there were four or fire extinguishers in place around the site that were checked every six months and that fire blankets and smoke alarms had been installed inside the units.”

        And isn’t it nice “everyone in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council are with the Connors, Lynch and Gilbert families and their relatives and friends at this very sad and very difficult time.” Obvs, no-one in the council lived in that estate which blocked the road to prevent an alternative site being opened.

  2. Frilly Keane

    can we not just recognise it was a horrible horrible tragedy
    an’ all take a moment to remind ourselves sum’ting like this should never be allowed happen again
    insteada picking on each other over facts
    and details about some of the victims blood tests

    Christ, ye’re painful sometimes

  3. stephen c

    We can call it a horrible tragedy all we want. But how can we ‘never allow it to happen again’ when alcohol, benzos and an illegal electricity connection were all massive contributing factors in this.

    Building them houses solves none of these issues. Giving them money solves none of these issues. How can we resolve the drink and substance abuse issues in the traveller community and force them to pay for electricity so that this doesn’t happen again, without pavee point objecting.

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