In the light of the appalling arson attack on Louise O’Keeffe’s home in Holywell Swords, she has been blown away with acts of kindness and well-wishers over the past two weeks, in which she describes as ‘beyond belief’.
Ms O’Keeffe returned home from an evening away to find her back garden had been torched last Sunday, setting all her children’s toys and treehouse alight. Her neighbours had alerted the local fire brigade who attended the scene and extinguished the blaze at 1am on the Sunday morning.
Following an investigation from the local Gardaí and Fire Department, it showed that an accelerant was used to start the fire. Louise, keen to help bring the perpetrator to justice, took to social media to share her story and spread the word and the story soon went viral.
Local Councillor Philip Lynam, (Sinn Féin,) told the County Leader ‘This heartless attack is nothing more than a disgrace, anyone who would destroy a sensory garden specifically for Ella’s needs should be ashamed of themselves and feel the full force of the law.’
Cllr Lynam continued, ‘Although a shocking situation occurred, it has brought out a great sense of community to Louise and her family and again a huge thank you to all who got behind Ella’s story and helped along the way through kindness.’
Cllr Lynam concluded, ‘I am appealing to anyone who might have seen someone acting suspicious on the night in which the fire was started near the house, please get in touch with Swords Gardai and help them with their investigation.’
Ms. O’Keeffe told the County Leader that she was ‘inundated with words of sympathy, well-wishers and unbelievable acts of kindness from people she didn’t know.’
She went on to say that she was ‘infuriated by the crime, as she has lived in Holywell for 11 years and cannot understand why someone would do this to children’s belongings. Not only are they my children’s outdoor toys but also garden furniture, bikes, fluffy toys and all of Ella’s sensory toys and equipment which she needs and uses daily due to her disability and which took me a long time to build up.’
Louise is one of the co-founding members of the RARE foundation, which is a charitable organisation for parents of children with rare medical conditions in Ireland. The organisation recently featured on Ireland AM to promote ‘Rare Disease Day’, back in February.
The first anniversary for the organisation is on the 28th of this month and she told the County Leader how she ‘is so happy to see it grow from only two members to three hundred members in one year. It is the only organisation in Ireland to offer a supportive hand to parents of children with rare illnesses or disabilities.’
She concluded, ‘I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support and donations to the go fund me page to try and get Ella’s sensory garden and sensory equipment back together for her. Everyone has been so helpful and I cannot thank them enough.’