‘Poor little darlings,’ an older woman remarked to her friend as they stood outside the home of siblings Lisa Cash (18) and eight-year-old twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley at Jobstown in Tallaght on Monday evening.
Outside the house, teary-eyed children dressed in their school uniforms hugged and laid bouquets of flowers and soft toys. More than 200 people gathered on Rossfield Avenue just after 5 p.m. for a vigil in remembrance of the siblings, who were killed in their family home on Sunday evening.
Pale pink and blue balloons were released into the sky as music such as Ben E. King’s Stand By Me and Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You played from a speaker.
Candles were placed on the front wall of the children’s house, where there were also posters, framed photographs, toy cars and a soccer ball.
“Fly high Chelsea, Christy and Lisa, Rossfield won’t be the same,” one poster read. “We all love you. Until we meet again.”
Family, friends, neighbors and members of the wider Tallaght community watched in silence, some visibly upset, while others comforted their children. “There are just no words,” said a woman who lives on Rossfield Avenue. “We are all shocked… numb. None of us can believe what happened and all of our hearts are broken for Margaret. [their mother]… They were the most beautiful children you can meet.
A young man, joined by his partner and two children, was among those laying flowers outside the house.
“We didn’t know the children, but our own children are at St Aidan [where Chelsea and Christy attended] so we thought we were going to come as a mark of respect,” he said. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this poor family is going through.”
“It’s so, so sad,” said one woman, shaking hands with her own young daughter.
Throughout Monday, locals arrived at St Aidan’s Parish Church in Tallaght to pray for the young brothers and sisters who were killed nearby in violent circumstances over the weekend.
The parish priest of Brookfield, Father Bill O’Shaughnessy, offered a “listening ear and a shoulder to cry on”. But, he said, there is no magic wand to wish for the devastation caused by the violent deaths of eight-year-old twins Chelsea and Christy Cawley and their 18-year-old sister Lisa Cash. .
The incident at a house in Rossfield Avenue, Brookfield, Tallaght, took place over a period of at least an hour and was believed to have been seen by dozens of people, including children who knew the siblings.
A fourth brother, a 14-year-old boy, managed to escape, apparently by jumping from an upstairs window, causing injury.
South Dublin County Council Mayor Cllr Emma Murphy said devastation was sinking into the community on Monday as the shock began to wear off.
“The adults are unable to understand what happened and are now trying to explain to the children why their classmates are not in school today and why there are empty chairs,” he said. she stated.
There was a collective response of support to the incident, with people coming together to try and find some solace, she said. But the situation will have a “very real and lasting impact” on Tallaght, she added.
The house on the corner of Rossfield Avenue, where the victims lived and were killed, was still sealed off Monday morning. Flowers were on the stage, with messages describing broken hearts and the new angels in heaven.
An employee of a local grocery store said the young twins came in every day, regularly buying groceries for their mother. The worker was ‘devastated’ to hear that the ‘nicest’ siblings weren’t coming back.
“They were just beautiful,” she said, adding that Christy was always watching over her sister. Their older sister Lisa spoke softly and was always very polite, the woman added.