Pope Francis expresses 'deep sadness' over 'terrible tragedy'

The funeral procession travels through Bray town
The funeral procession travels through Bray town

Bray town was brought to a standstill as five victims of the Carrickmines fire tragedy were laid to rest today.

Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects Willy Lynch (25), his partner Tara Gilbert (27), their two children Jody (9) and Kelsey (4), as well as Willy's brother Jimmy (39).

The family were visiting Willie’s sister Sylvia Connors (27) and her young family at the halting on Glenamuck Road when the fire broke out in the early hours of 10 October. A total of ten people perished in the blaze. 

Mourners paid their respects to the victims at the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in the seaside town following a wake yesterday evening. 

Last night, family and friends of the deceased attended a wake for their lost loved ones at Thomas Murphy and Sons funeral home. Dozens of people attended the wake, with many leaving flowers and other tributes as a mark of respect. 

People lined the streets of Bray town as the procession passed through in the direction of church. 

A message from the Pope is to be read at funeral masses for the Gilbert, Lynch and Connors families.

"Pope Francis, having learned of the horrific fire in Carrickmines, expresses his deep sadness over this terrible tragedy," the message reads. 

"The Holy Father prays especially for those who have died, and he wishes to assure all their family members, their friends, and the whole Traveller community, of his spiritual closeness and sympathy at this very difficult time."

Chief celebrant Fr Derek Farrell, parish priest of the parish of Travelling People said that as a couple, Tara and Willy were very loving and close. 

"John, Willy’s brother put it so simply and beautifully when he said: ‘God made them, God matched them.’ " he said.

"They stuck like glue to one another, and bonded very well.  They managed everything so well, the house, the family…  they were a really happy, loving family," said Fr Farrell.

He said Willy cherished what he called his 'three girls' Tara, Kelsey, & Jodie and brought the girls everywhere with him. 

"Kelsey stuck like a magnet to Willy, always wanted to be close to her Daddy.  Jodie meant the world to Willy as well.  His family would say of Willy, ‘He never stops talking!  He loved fixing bikes, he loved his hunting, he loved nature, he loved life’."

There was laughter as he said Tara was "the boss" - in the best possible way.

"When it came to care of her family and taking care of others, she took charge.  Beautiful inside and out, always smiling, easy-going, never grumpy, a fantastic Mum, her children always came first," recalled Fr Farrell. Jimmy, brother of Willy and Sylvia, was very popular and loved by family and friends. 

"He had a heart of gold, and being very good with his hands, he liked to fix things, and especially to fix things for other people. He loved Elvis. Jimmy was very good to his, only quite recently deceased, beloved mother, Mary, and he was her pride and joy," he said.

The family will be laid to rest at Springfield Cemetery following the funeral. 

There will be a removal for the other victims of the fire - the Connors family - tomorrow evening.