Community rally around after father of three sets of twins passes away

Chris and Michelle Doyle with five of their kids in 2012, (l-r) Luke, Anthony, Adam, Andrew and Lillian (Image via
Chris and Michelle Doyle with five of their kids in 2012, (l-r) Luke, Anthony, Adam, Andrew and Lillian (Image via

A LOCAL community has rallied around a grieving mum and her seven children who have recently lost their dad.

Chris and Michelle Doyle made headlines when they welcomed a third set of twins, Ollie and Olivia in 2012, as they beat odds of 500,000-to-one to welcome three sets of twins.

The couple were already parents to two sets of twins; Adam and Anthony and Lilian and Luke. They were also proud parents to big brother Andrew.

Tragically Chris (37) passed away suddenly earlier this month and a group of parents in Portlaoise have now come together to raise funds to purchase a 9-seater car for Michelle so she can easily transport her brood.

On July 15 local bands, Blessed and Soulset, will play in Kavanagh’s Pub in the town and organisers are hoping to sell 5,000 tickets.

Tickets for the event cost €5 and can be purchased in school offices, the Portlaoise Parish Centre shop or from PJ Kavanagh, owner of Kavanagh’s pub.

A bank account has also been opened for people to donate to Michelle and her family.

Donations can be made to any Bank of Ireland branch or online using the IBAN number IE17BOFI90188882269627.

A letter penned by organisers of the fundraiser says that Chris was “a proud and devoted father”.

“Chris did as every loving Dad does: he kissed sore knees, sat up with them when they were sick, played and laughed, helped his children navigate life’s difficulties,” the letter reads.

“He was an ever-present hands-on support: grocery shopping, school runs, helping with the bedtime routine.”

When one of Chris’s sons was diagnosed with special needs he gave up work to become a full-time carer.

His devotion as a dad earned him the title of Ireland’s Dad of the Year in 2013.

Chris and his wife Michelle were due to renew their wedding vows in August. 

“The news of Chris’s passing sent a ripple of shock and sadness through our close-knit community. The people of Laois will rally to support this family, these children,” the group said.

“There is nothing we can do that will replace all that this family has lost, but there is so much we can do to make their lives a little easier.”