A tale of two tragedies
A tale of two tragedies


The state’s hierarchy for victims couldn’t have been clearer this week when one family was accorded a state funeral while others have been subjected to a discrimination and hate campaign.

Shortly after a devastating fire in a south Dublin suburb in which ten of their relaties died, the deadliest in Ireland since 1981, survivors of the blaze were preventing from taking up short-term accommodation by a hate-fuelled protest. Two were also refused entry into a pub -- because the victims of Ireland’s worst fire tragedy in a generation were all members of the travelling community.

The fire broke out on Saturday at about 4am at a halting site on the Glenamuck Road in Carrickmines. The victims have been named as Thomas and Sylvia Connors, their children Jim, Christy and Mary (who was just six-months-old), William Lynch, his partner Tara Gilbert, their children Jody and Kelsey, and William’s brother Jimmy.

The remaining affected families, who lost their homes in the fire, include the parents of Thomas Connors, their adult children and grandchildren.

Four mobile homes were due to be made ready for them to move into on Thursday as a short-term shelter, but the site was blockaded by members of the settled community.

In a statement, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council confirmed that “contractors have not been able to gain access to the site as a number of cars have been blocking the entrance”.

But after a few hand-wringing statements by politicians, their plight was quickly forgotten.

Meanwhile, the death of a Garda policeman who was shot when he intervened in a domestic dispute has received blanket media coverage, and become the subject of a national sympathy campaign.

Garda Tony Golden died in Omeath, County Louth while escorting a woman to her home to collect belongings after a complaint of domestic abuse by her partner, Adrian Mackin. Mackin fired at both of them as they entered the house, before turning the gun on himself.

But the tragic death of the Garda who died while trying to protect an innocent woman was hijacked by politicians and right-wing media for their own ends -- because early reports falsely described the perpetrator as an active republican.

The 24-year-old violent serial offender and occasional criminal had appeared in court charged with IRA membership. However, he he had never at any time been a member of any republican organisation, and the Republican Network for Unity suggested he may have been used as an informer.

They pointed out that after his arrest in January he was refused entry to the Republican wing in Portlaoise Prison by republican prisoners who refused to recognise him as such. He was placed by the prison authorities in the criminal A-Block, before being released on bail.

“Although he made several attempts to infiltrate several republican organisations prior to his arrest, his attempts failed,” the RNU said.

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