No prosecution for council over fatal Carrickmines fire

by Rebecca Ryan
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One of the temporary homes off Glenamuck Road, Carrickmines that was damaged in the blaze in 2015

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) will not be prosecuted over the Carrickmines fire that claimed the lives of 10 people in October 2015.

Five adults and five children lost their lives in the blaze at the temporary halting site on the Glenamuck Road.

Among the questions raised at the time, was how quickly the fire spread and how closely the mobile homes were placed to each other.

Gardai investigated if there were any criminal health and safety breaches by DLRCC in relation to the placement of the units.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) have now decided that no prosecution will be brought against the council in connection with the fatal fire.

Martin Collins, Co-Director of Pavee Point, Traveller and Roma Centre, told Dublin Gazette the families of the victims and the traveller community are very disappointed with the outcome.

He said: “This was huge tragedy where 10 members our community, including an unborn child, lost their lives.  The site was unfit for human habitation, it did not meet health and safety standards.

“We would have thought that Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council being the legal landlord of that site would have been sufficient grounds for the council to face some sort of legal proceedings in terms of being negligent.

“If I was a private landlord and I rented out a property to people who subsequently lost their lives in my property, I guarantee you I would be prosecuted before the courts and rightly so.

“Yet when we have a public body, like the local authority, who behaved in the very same manner, they’re not being held to account.

“Over many years, the travellers on the site and two local traveller organisations made numerous attempts with DLRCC to have the site upgraded to meet health and safety standards, but that didn’t happen.

“The information I’m receiving would suggest that the site was structurally and inherently unsafe.”

Mr Collins is calling for more accountability and for the 1998 Traveller Accommodation Act to be honoured.

“People, travellers in this instance, have lost faith and confidence in the major institutions of the State. There is no culture of accountability.

“If there’s no accountability, nothing is going to change.”

Councillor Chris Curran (SF) said he is also shocked at the outcome.

He said: “Many people will want to know why no prosecution will be made when it seems that lives could have been saved that night.

“Having worked closely with the family I am aware of the hurt that the DPP’s decision will cause them.

“It is my hope that in the fullness of time and through other legal means, the events of October 10th 2015 will become clearer.”

Commenting on the DPP’s decision, a spokesperson for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council told Dublin Gazette: “The council’s thoughts are with the families who have lost their loved ones.”

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