National News: House fire that killed three people in 1987 upgraded to murder investigation

The remains of Barbara Doyle (20), Mary Ellen Byrne (8) and Kerrie Byrne (3) were discovered at the scense

Henry Bauress


Henry Bauress


Kilcock Fire

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.

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.