There were emotional scenes in a small Leitrim village on Tuesday as three members of one family who were tragically killed in a house fire at the weekend were laid to rest.
Dessie McDonald (75), his wife Patsy (77) and their daughter, Patricia (34) were sleeping in their two-storey home at Lisnabrack near Manorhamilton when the fire broke out downstairs. A passing taxi driver noticed the blaze and raised the alarm shortly after 2am.
Superintendent John Furlong, in charge of the Garda investigation into the fire, said the examination revealed no indication that the three people died as a result of foul play. It is believed that the fire may have broken out in the kitchen area, but forensic investigations are still continuing into the cause of the blaze.
Manorhamilton-based councillor, Sean McSharry described the family as “quiet and unassuming”. “It is a terrible tragedy, the whole area has been left numbed by this,” he said
The Church of the Annunciation, Mullies was overflowing on Tuesday morning as the community gathered to bid them farewell.
The poignant sight of three coffins lying near the altar bore silent testimony to the devastation brought by the loss of this close-knit family.
Fr John McMahon, PP, said that, in the history of Mullies chapel, he had never witnessed the heartache, pain and suffering of the last few days.
He said Dessie McDonald, who moved back to Leitrim from New York a number of years ago, was “a good-humoured man who was always concerned about others”.
His wife Patsy only moved to Leitrim in recent months, having lived most of her life in the Bronx in New York City.
Fr McMahon extended his heartfelt sympathies to the two surving members of the McDonald family, Jennifer and Joanne.
Mr McDonald’s remains were interred in the adjoining cemetery after the funeral mass. The remains of Patsy and Patricia McDonald have been taken to Mount Jerome Crematorium in Dublin.