garda probe | 

Westmeath car fire that claimed lives of boy (3) and girl (6) is being treated as suspicious

Garda patrol car

Ken Foy and Eoghan

A car fire which killed two small children is being treated as suspicious by gardaí.

A three-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister died in the blaze, which officers believe may have been started deliberately. The tragedy happened near the town of Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, at around 4pm yesterday.

The children’s mother was also severely injured during the fire. She was airlifted to a hospital in Dublin. Emergency services rushed to the scene but were too late to save the children. The body of the girl was discovered at the scene, and while the boy was brought to hospital he died from his injuries.

Gardaí in Mullingar are probing “all the circumstances” in relation to the tragedy.

The scene was examined last night by the Garda Technical Bureau and remained preserved overnight.

The car was removed and will be further forensically examined over the weekend.

The scene has also been examined by the state pathologist, Dr Sally Anne Collis.

Dr Collis will carry out postmortem examinations on both deceased. The results and the forensic examinations will determine the course of the investigation.

Last night the mood was sombre in the Multyfarnham area - a small town around 15 minutes from Mullingar - with one man saying "everyone is numb” as locals attempted to come to terms with the tragedy.

It's understood GAA matches at the local club have been cancelled this weekend.

Sinn Féin TD for Westmeath-Longford, Sorca Clarke, described the incident as "desperately sad”.

She said her "thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and loved ones” of the deceased.

“Thoughts also with the emergency services and all who came to their aid,” Ms Clarke added.

Brian Crum, Fianna Fáil representative for Multyfarnham, said the thoughts and “heartfelt sympathies” of everyone in the area are with the family involved.

“You hear of tragedies like this happening in other countries or in other counties, but you never expect something like this to happen where you’re from, or know what it feels like until it comes from your own area - especially when you have children of your own. Multyfarnham is a very tight knit community, everyone sticks together and helps each other out. This tragedy will be felt right across the community, “Mr Crum said.

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