The bodies of three children have been removed from a house near the Irish capital of Dublin.
The two boys and a girl, aged four, eight and ten, were found in their home in the village of Newcastle in County Dublin.
The scene was cordoned off by gardai – the name given to Irish police – and a woman in her 40s, understood to be the children’s mother, was taken to hospital after being spotted disorientated on the street outside her home in Parsons Court.
Upon entering the house shortly after 7pm, an note was found with the message: “Don’t go upstairs…call 999” after which gardai made the heartbreaking discovery.
It is understood it was not immediately obvious to officers how the children had died but the gardai are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident.
Garda forensic officers were continuing to conduct examinations inside the semi-detached house on Saturday morning.
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It is believed that the children were either drugged or poisoned.
As news of the tragic incident emerged, one neighbour said: “It doesn’t seem real. I’ll be honest we’re shaking.”
Many residents were too shocked and upset to talk to reporters, but one woman who wished to stay anonymous said: “I only found out five minutes ago after my brother rang because it was on the news.
“I was oblivious because we live in the corner, so I didn’t know anything.”
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She, along with another neighbour said they were trying to “piece it together.”
The woman added: “I have kids upstairs and she has kids next door. I actually was worried because she has three kids as well and I didn’t know who it was.
“I don’t know anything yet and it hasn’t sunk in. I don’t think we’d known them to see them because our children are younger as well.
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“It is a quiet estate. I think it’s an understatement to say we’re shocked. I’m sure more details will emerge in the morning but I think tonight everybody is just like… I can’y believe it’s on our doorstep.”
A memorial service was held at St. Finian’s Church this morning after reverend Fr Kevin sent out a message of prayers to the children and their family.
He said: “This is the saddest of nights. The devastating news has brought tragedy and darkness into our community.”
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A Gardai spokeswoman said: “Gardai are currently attending the scene of an incident at a domestic house in Newcastle, Co Dublin.
“The bodies of three children, two boys and a girl, have been discovered.
“Gardai are currently investigating the circumstances of their unexplained deaths. A female in her 40s has been taken to Tallaght Hospital.”
She urged anyone with information to contact Clondalkin Gardai station.
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