A Garda investigation has commenced into a fire at a farmhouse near Windgap in South Kilkenny on Christmas morning that claimed the lives of a mother and her two young daughters.

Though originally thought to be an accident,  Following forensic examinations, they say they are keeping an open mind on what might have caused the blaze.

Extensive door-to-door inquires are currently underway in the areas of Windgap and nearby Callan, with gardai asking people if they know of any suspicious activities between 9pm on Christmas Eve and 9am on Christmas morning in the area surrounding the isolated farmhouse where 30-year-old Sharon Whelan and her two daughters – Zsara (7) and Nadia (2) – were residing. Their three lifeless bodies were pulled from their burning home at around 9am on Christmas morning, after neighbours noticed smoke coming from the building.

Post mortems took place on all three bodies at Waterford Regional Hospital in the past few days and forensic experts are still examining the scene of the fire. Gardai have interviewed relatives and members of Sharon’s extended family as part of their inquiries.

The HSE has offered counselling services to anyone affected by the tragedy at Windgap. The switchboard at St. Luke’s General Hospital for Carlow/Kilkenny (tel. 056-7785000) can be contacted, from where a number to access the psychology services will be made available.