Two people have died following a fire in Gort, Co Galway, overnight.

The victims have been named locally as 65-year-old Nuala Sweeney and 38-year-old Ben Whiteman.

It is understood Ms Sweeney was originally from Dublin but had been living in Gort for a number of years.

Mr Whiteman, a mechanic, was from England but had also spent a number of years in the area.

They were the only occupants of a flat above an office in the end-of-terrace building on Station Road in the centre of the town.

Gardaí said the fire began shortly before 3am.

Four units of the fire brigade attended the scene, which is just off Main Street.

Fire service personnel from Gort and Loughrea spent over three hours bringing the blaze under control.

The property was gutted in the blaze.

Fire service personnel described this as one of the worst house fires they have dealt with in recent times.

It is thought to have broken out in a bedroom before spreading through the premises.

Garda technical experts conducted a detailed forensic examination of the scene throughout the day.

The outcome of those inspections, along with the results of post- mortem examinations, will determine the exact course of the investigation into the fire.