Suspended sentences in relation to deaths of Irish students in Belgium

Sara Gibadlo and Dace Zarina died in the 2014 fire

Suspended sentences in relation to deaths of Irish students in Belgium

The Leuven Institute for Ireland | Image: leuveninstitute.eu

Updated: 12.50

A court in Belgium has convicted two men in connection with the deaths of two Irish students in a fire in 2014.

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology students Sara Gibadlo (22) and Dace Zarina (19) lost their lives in the blaze in Leuven in January that year.

The students were in their second year of a degree in Hotel and Catering Management when they transferred to Belgium on an Erasmus year.

They attended the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, and stayed in accommodation owned by its director Malachy Vallely.

The fire started after fellow student student Shane Bracken lit a cigarette in the house.

The court in Leuven decided that both men and the institution are responsible for unintentional killing.

Mr Vallely has received a one year suspended jail sentence.

While Bracken has received a three month suspended sentence.

Mr Vallely and the institute have also been fined.

It is reported the students families are considering a separate legal action in connection with their daughter's deaths.