Ireland DPP rules out prosecution over fire that claimed 10

08:05  17 may  2018
08:05  17 may  2018 Source:   independent.ie

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Scene of the fire in which 10 people lost their lives © Provided by Irish Independent Scene of the fire in which 10 people lost their lives The DPP has decided no prosecution will be brought against a county council in connection with the fatal fire that claimed 10 lives three years ago.

Gardaí investigated if there were any criminal health and safety breaches by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council in relation to the placement of units at a temporary halting site at Glenamuck, Carrickmines, Co Dublin.

Central to the probe was how close together the units were.

Five adults and five children died following the fire at the halting site in the early hours of October 10, 2015.

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It emerged last year that gardaí had completed an investigation and sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Irish Independent understands the DPP recently decided no charges are to be brought.

The council has declined to comment.

The decision means an inquest into the deaths can now resume, having been adjourned by coroner Dr Myra Cullinane.

The council is being represented by solicitor Michael Staines.

It has previously acknowledged units at the halting site were moved during upgrade works in March and April 2015, six months prior to the fire.

Relatives of those who died have said the new configuration left some units too close together.

The fire is believed to have started in one unit and quickly spread to another.

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The fire victims were Thomas Connors (27) his wife Sylvia (30), and their children Jim (5), Christy (3) and six-month-old Mary; Willie Lynch (25), his partner Tara Gilbert (27), who was pregnant, and daughters Jodie (9) and Kelsey (4); and 39-year-old Jimmy Lynch, a brother of Willie.

The ten victims were residents of the halting site.

They died due to carbon monoxide poisoning, the adjourned inquest previously heard.

The five adults and four of the children were identified using DNA evidence with the assistance of Dr Alan Magee.

The ten post-mortem examinations were carried out by State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy and Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster. The cause of death was acute carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation as the result of a fire.

The deaths raised serious questions over how Traveller families were forced to live in cramped and unsafe conditions.

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Rule 7.2 of the Criminal Procedure Rules (Crim.PR). Once the DPP has taken over the conduct of the proceedings, he is free to discontinue them if he thinks it would be appropriate to do so. b. where the defendant asks the CPS to take over the prosecution

Gardaí have submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions concerning a fire in Carrickmines that claimed ten lives and that of an unborn baby. Five adults and five children died following the fire at Glenamuck Halting site in the early hours of October 10 2015.

Relatives of the 10 victims said in March that they are angered at the delays in processing the case and holding the inquests into their deaths.

Speaking after the adjournment at the time, relative Sindy Lynch said she had expected the case to be delayed by a few weeks, but did not think it would be six months.

"We want to be able to move on with our lives, but we can't until this is over," she said.

"We want to see justice for our families."

The council provided group housing for the four surviving households that were on the site, adjacent to where they had lived, on Glenamuck Road.

The families pay rent to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council as social housing tenants.

Jim O'Brien, of the Bray Travellers Community Development Group, who has spoken on behalf of the families, said previously that gardaí and the coroner had been very supportive.

"It is a nightmare for the three families.

"We know it is a big file and it needs to be fully investigated, but what all three families are going through must be considered," he said.

The Carrickmines tragedy unfolded at the site at around 4am on October 10, 2015.

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Flames tore through a portacabin, claiming the lives of two couples, five of their children, and another male.

The blaze quickly spread to a second home and left the victims with little chance of survival.

Those who died were from three generations of an extended Connors family, who are members of the Traveller community.

Nine died on the site - and one later on hospital.

Assistant chief fire officer with Dublin Fire Brigade, Denis Keeley, described the Carrickmines fire as "the extreme end of anything I've dealt with in the past".

Those who died were honoured at vigils throughout the country.

A letter from Pope Francis was read at their funeral, which was attended by then Tánaiste, Joan Burton, and representatives of the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Michael D Higgins.

Relatives of those who died later met Pope Francis in the Vatican.

In March 2017, a devastating fire in Clondalkin claimed the lives of four members of the Travelling community, several of whom were relatives of the Carrickmines victims.

The victims included a pregnant woman and three young children.

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