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28 Sept 2022

Criminal investigation launched into car fire that left two children dead

Criminal investigation launched into car fire that left two children dead

A criminal investigation has been launched into a car fire which left two children dead and their mother seriously injured in Co Westmeath.

Lynn Egar remains in a hospital in Dublin after she was pulled from the burning car by a passer-by on Friday.

Her five-year-old daughter Thelma and two-year-old son Michael both died in the incident.

The car went up in flames while on a rural road at Lacken, Multyfarnham.

Post-mortem examinations on the bodies of both children by the state pathologist Dr Sally Ann Collis have concluded.

Gardai will not release the results of the post-mortems for operational reasons.

The Garda Technical Bureau is continuing to forensically examine the car.

Ms Egar, aged in her 40s, continues to be treated for serious, but non-life threatening, injuries in hospital.

Gardai have appealed to anyone with any information in relation to the incident to contact them.

A Garda family liaison officer continues to keep the family updated, gardai said.

On Monday, Taoiseach Micheal Martin extended his “deepest sympathies” to the family and friends of the two young children.

Speaking in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Mr Martin said: “We’re all deeply conscious of the terrible tragedy that happened at nearby Multyfarnham where two young little children, Michael and Thelma, passed away in the most tragic of circumstances.

“To their family, their classmates, their teachers we extend our deepest sympathies at this very, very traumatic time for the entire community.”

A vigil took place on Sunday in memory of the two children.

Around 500 people took part in the vigil in the village of Multyfarnham, which was attended by school teachers, parents and children and members of the wider community.

Some carried candles and framed pictures of the victims.

Those who took part walked from Michael’s pre-school, Children of Lir, to St Cremin’s National School where Thelma was a pupil, on Sunday evening.

Fr John O’Brien, of Multyfarnham Franciscan Abbey, said there is a “deep sadness” in the village.

“There is a terrible feeling of sadness, like a cloud coming down on us. There is a feeling of being dazed and confused, what do we say? How do we come to terms with this?” Fr O’Brien told RTE Morning Ireland.

“This sense of unreality we have to face this terrible tragedy.

“Did this really happen? The two little kids are dead. There is an overwhelming feeling of sadness, disbelief and not being able to find the words.

“People are meeting informally. Mothers are talking about it and they are worried about their kids going to school and how they will face the news.

“It will be hard on the teachers and very hard on the little ones who have to face this sense of grief and loss.

“I can’t find the words, but just sitting with someone and listening to how they feel and their confusion, in that way we create a healing spirit between us.

“We have to do that and do it for each other in the community. We are in shock, it is simply unbelievable.

“We don’t have a magic wand to take away the tears, we have to sit and be with somebody. It is a lonely time for everybody.

“It has been a tremendous shock.”

Karl Dermody, principal of St Cremin’s, said the school community had been devastated by the loss.

In a short statement, Mr Dermody described Thelma as “warm, happy and vibrant”. The school reopened on Monday.

Gardai are appealing for anyone who was in the Lacken area on Friday between 2pm and 4pm and has any video footage to make it available to the investigation team.

Officers also urged anyone with information to contact Mullingar Garda Station on 044 9384000, or contact the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.

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