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tragic loss Tributes paid to couple killed in horror Roscommon house fire as they are named locally

It is understood gardaí are not treating the fatal fire as suspicious but are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

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Nuala Kenny

Nuala Kenny

Nuala Kenny

The couple killed in a house fire in Roscommon overnight have been named.

Nuala Kenny and Joe Tumulty were killed in the blaze at at Rooty Cross, Drumalya, Co Roscommon, a townland close to the Galway border, overnight.

Ms Kenny was in her 40s and Mr Tumulty was in his 50s, and had been in a relationship for several years. He had two children from a previous relationship and she was a mother of three.

It is understood gardaí are not treating the fatal fire as suspicious but are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

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Joey Tumulty

Joey Tumulty

Joey Tumulty

A relative of Mr Tumulty, who is also a neighbour, told Independent.ie he had been reading the paper until about 2am when he went to turn off the television.

“I went to the window to turn off the television and I could see this enormous flame, I really mean shocking,” he said.

“Joey had a habit of maybe burning stuff maybe at night, in these country places they do things like that.

“But then when I looked again I said there is no way that is rubbish.

“So I went up to bed and I called her [his partner] and she said: ‘Oh Jesus the shed beside us is on fire. I’ll ring Joey and tell him the shed is on fire.

“She rang and no answer. So the whole thing happened between 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock. And it was an inferno.”

The man said by the time emergency services got to the scene, the house had bee engulfed in flames.

“We came down straight away and the whole top of the house was burning at that stage and there was nothing at the bottom, on the ground floor,” he said.

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“It was far, far too late by the time the fire brigade got here.

“We can see the top of the house from where we live.

“It started somewhere on the stairs or upstairs I’m absolutely convinced.

“He built the house himself, he was a plasterer and very proud of it he was.

“He did seasonal work for Bord na Mona recently but he was a plasterer by profession. He would have had ten men working for him at one stage.”

The man described Mr Tumulty as someone who kept to himself.

“Joey was a nice fella, I wouldn’t have known her that well. Joey was a private kind of a man. He was at that age you know, over 50 years of age,” he said.

Local parish priest Fr Michael Molloy said the news had sent shockwaves through the area.

“It's a very difficult morning to hear that tragic news, of fire at any time and the loss of life at any time, it sends shockwaves through the parish,” he said.

“This little parish bordering the parish of Ballinasloe, I am speaking also on behalf of Fr John Garvey and the community of that end of the parish, we are meeting together with the two parishes, so shockwaves have gone across both of them.

“It has been a very difficult morning for the families concerned and in a small, close-knit community where people know each other, it has been very, very difficult.

“I have met some of the families and I have to meet some of them again in the afternoon, so our prayers and our thoughts go with them in this very difficult situation.

“And we try and respect their privacy as well.

“I know the people, yes.

“I have been speaking to one set of the families.

“People have great faith and that is what holds them together, so that is the way we spoke this morning and we prayed together.

“They were just quiet people who went about their business and looked after their families.

“They were very private people so I would just like to express the sympathy of the community and of the parish.

“We will be in touch with them and give them whatever comfort we can give them as pastors and as members of the community and as pastoral councils over the next number of days, spanning both parishes.

“They would have been well-known in the area.

“They were very popular people in the area and very nice people. In a close community like this everyone knows each other and it is really a very difficult day for everybody.

“And it will be a very difficult afternoon as people are coming to terms with this.

“I and father Garvey will be in touch with the families all through the afternoon and the evening and we will try and do our best to journey with them.

“In these difficult times with Covid restrictions it is that bit more difficult, but people will rally round, even at a distance and support them.

“It is just a very, very tragic day and our sympathies and our prayers go to these people.

“May they rest in peace.”

Emergency services are alerted to the fire at around 2am.

Three units of the fire brigade tackled the blaze which was brought under control shortly before at 5.30am.

At 12.35 today the body of one of the deceased was removed from the scene by undertakers flanked by gardaí.

Forensic specialists remain at the scene carrying out detailed examinations to determine the cause of the fire.

A source told Independent.ie: “At this stage there is nothing to suggest there is anything suspicious about this tragic incident but inquiries are ongoing.

“Garda forensic officers are at the scene and carrying out their inquiries to determine where the fire started.”

A Garda spokesperson said: “The fire was brought under control by three units of Fire Brigade.

"Two bodies (a man and woman, aged in their mid-40s) were discovered inside the house. Death was pronounced at the scene a short time later.

“Investigating gardaí have preserved the scene as they work towards establishing the cause of the fire. The bodies will be removed to Galway General Hospital where post mortem examinations will be conducted.”

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