‘Tallaght is shattered. I among them. We as a community are heartsore’
It was a poignant example of how the community of Tallaght will continue to uplift and carry a family so bereft and broken that they simply can’t fathom a way forward.
Hundreds of people stood in sombre silence, spilling out onto the grounds and streets surrounding St Aidan’s Church in Brookfield, Tallaght, struggling to understand this inconceivable loss.
Just last week, eight-year-old twins, Christy and Chelsea, were settling back into primary school, while 18-year-old Lisa was creating TikTok videos and spending time with friends – her entire life stretching out before her.
Last Friday morning, just six days after their lives were cruelly cut short in a fatal stabbing, their grief-stricken mother, Margaret, prepared to bury three of her children in the knowledge that life would never be the same again.
The words of Fr Paul O’Driscoll, who is chaplain of the Dublin Travelling community and who led the Funeral Mass perfectly encapsulated the thick fog of grief that hung heavy in the air.
“Bereft of words, all of us hold the same question: How could this be happening?
As young mothers cradled their small babies close and grown men wept openly, it was an unspoken question asked by all, how could this be happening?
Three horse-drawn carriages lay in wait as the siblings were carried from the small church while one of Lisa’s favourite Elvis Presley songs was played from outdoor speakers.
There were ragged sobs as the lyrics: “There must be lights burning brighter somewhere, got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue” washed over the crowd as the coffins filed past.
As dozens of schoolchildren lined up to say their final goodbyes to their friends, each one wearing a T-shirt bearing a picture of their classmates with the caption: ‘our little angels’ the community learned of the siblings unending love for one another.
Displaying remarkable poise, Lisa’s two best friends spoke of the unbreakable bond between the three youngsters.
Before the congregation, Natasha Kavanagh said:
“Lisa, my heart is completely broken, make sure you keep the twins safe up there. They were your whole life, you were always with them and when you weren’t you never stopped talking about them.”
Just minutes from the church where the three siblings lay, is the place they once called home.
Flowers, candles and wreaths adorn their home at Rossfield Avenue as people continue to come out in their droves to pay their respects.
The windows remain boarded up but that cannot contain the shocking events that took place last weekend while Lisa was babysitting her younger siblings. Nor can it contain the sorrow that is reverberating across the nation.
Tallaght is shattered. I among them. We as a community are heartsore as we grieve for the three innocents who lived a whisper of a life before their time here was so cruelly and violently snuffed out.
There are no answers, and there is no comfort.
But however short-lived their beautiful lives may have been, we cannot underestimate the robust impact they have made on their community.
Testament to this are the many coffee mornings, neighbourly words of comfort, prayer services and shrines that have lit up the west Dublin suburb.
While the local neighbourhood rallied around the family in the days since the terrible events to support the children’s mother and their 14-year-old brother who was also injured in the incident, a vigil held on Monday saw hundreds of balloons released in memory of the ‘three angels’.
Support services were also put in place at the schools the children had attended and in the local community centre to allow people to express their shock and heartache.
Most awe-inspiring is a fundraiser in aid of the family which has raised a staggering €66,230.
More than 1,000 people have made donations to the fundraiser that initially had a target of €5,000.
And yet in spite of this tragedy and the outpouring of support from the hardworking people in the community, there continues to be a barrage of vitriol spewed online about Tallaght and the people that live here.
On Twitter and across social media, some people have denigrated the place that I have proudly called home for the past 33 years.
For the family of Lisa, Christy and Chelsea Tallaght has proven once more that in true hardship comes true community.
And every last one of us will continue to hold Lisa, Chelsea and Christy in our hearts and hope that they are ‘flying higher in a sky more blue.’