Irish Woman Who Worked In Grenfell Tower Tells Of Her Sadness At The Tragedy
The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in West London earlier this week has caused a great deal of shock and anger. At least 30 people are currently confirmed to have died, but that number is expected to rise.
As residents and the wider community demand answers from the authorities about why their safety concerns were not addressed, we spoke to one Irish woman who used to work in the building and witnessed some of its problems first-hand.
Siobhan Campbell worked in the social services office on the first floor of Grenfell Tower from 2005 to 2010, where she was involved in rehousing families. She was horrified when she discovered what had happened this week.
"I woke up Wednesday morning to emails from colleagues showing me links to the news. I just couldn't believe it, it was just horrific looking at it. I immediately thought about people trying to get down that stairway, which was totally enclosed."
"It was a very grim kind of building. The renovation just made it look very good from the outside, but the inside was exactly the same. The stairway was the only one for people to come down during the fire."
Siobhan described the area as "hugely multi-cultural and incredibly diverse." She also admitted that she thought it would be very difficult for Grenfell Tower residents to find long-term accommodation locally.
"When I left Kensington and Chelsea Social Services to return to Ireland in 2013, there was no social housing in Kensington and Chelsea, and they just moved the problems elsewhere. I see on the news today that the chances of getting those families rehoused in the borough is minimal."
She is still in contact with former colleagues who are currently trying to find homes for the children who have been orphaned as a result of the fire, and they have told her that they are unable to keep up with the demands.
From the stories of people like Siobhan, who had such close involvement with the local community, it's clear that the effects of this tragedy will be felt for a long time to come.