File photo of Elizabeth Byrne, with her two children, Mary Ellen and Kerrie, who died in the blaze
Gardai now believe that a fire which killed a Kildare woman and two young children on this day 30 years ago was started deliberately. A murder investigation has been established into the deaths.
On September 20, 1987, a fire occurred at Church Lane, Kilcock. The remains of 20-year-old Barbara Doyle, and Mary Ellen Byrne (8) and Kerrie Byrne (3) were discovered at the scene.
The parents of the children, Aidan (now deceased) and Elizabeth, had been at a 21st birthday party that night in the locality.
Barbara Doyle was the aunt of the two girls, and the sister of Elizabeth Byrne.
The fire was reported between 3am and 4am that Sunday morning.
According to gardai, “new evidence has come into our possession, and we now believe the fire was started deliberately.”
While the investigation has remained open since the blaze, it has now been upgraded to a murder investigation and an incident room has been established at Leixlip Garda Station. The Serious Crime Review Team are assisting local investigators.
“We are satisfied there are people who will remember this fire and the deaths of Barbara, Mary Ellen and Kerrie, and who have not yet spoken to Gardai,” said Chief Supt Gerard Roche, speaking today at Leixlip Garda Station.
Chief Supt Roche said the new information was "significant," but would not elaborate on whether the source of it was personal or scientific.
He said the Gardai have been in regular touch with the family. "It has been a very emotive time for the family," he said.
The deaths have not been forgotten by the family or the Gardai, he said.
The press conference was told that Barbara Doyle was single at the time and Gardai don't believe she was in a relationship at the time. Mary Ellen Byrne attended a local school.
Anyone with information should contact Leixlip Garda Station at 01 6667800 or the Garda confidiential line on 1800 666111.
He appealed for the privacy of the Byrne and Doyle families to be respected.
Barbara Doyle, who lost her life in the fire
The scene of the 1987 fire in Church Lane, Kilcock
Insp Paul Dolan, Chief Supt Roche and Chief Supt Gerry Wall at the briefing in Leixlip Garda Station this morning