Updated at 16:30
Neighbours and locals in the small village of Clashmore in Co Waterford have expressed shock at the death of a baby girl who was attacked by a dog.
Mia O’Connell was born in late February to parents Rhys O’Connell and Ella Wood. The young couple got engaged last New Year’s Eve, according to the Irish Examiner.
The three-month-old was in her cot in the terraced house when the dog went upstairs at around 2am and attacked her.
As The Irish Times reports, Emergency services treated the girl’s injuries at the scene before she was taken by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where she died at around 3am.
Fr Milo Guiry of Ardmore, whose parish encompasses the village of Clashmore, said that it was a “terrible tragedy”.
“We will keep the family in our prayers. Every support will be offered to them. It is terrible, terrible news.”
The baby girl, who was born in February, was in her bedroom when the attack occurred. She sustained massive injuries and was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where she died at around 3am.
The emergency services and paramedics had attended at the terraced house in Clashmore, Co Waterford.
A postmortem examination is due to be carried out today. The house has been sealed off for a forensic examination.
It is understood that a file will be sent to the Coroners' Court and an inquest will be held in due course.
The incident is being investigated by gardai in Dungarvan who are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
A Garda statement read: “Gardaí are investigating all the circumstances after a female infant, aged 3 months, was fatally injured by a dog at a residence in Clashmore, Co.Waterford in the early hours of this morning, 7th June 2021.
“Gardaí and paramedics treated the infant at the scene until she was taken to Cork University Hospital. She was pronounced deceased a short time later.
“An Garda Síochána are appealing to the media and public to respect the privacy of the family at this time.”
Two members of An Garda Síochána stood outside a sealed off green terraced house just off the Main Street in Clashmore this morning.
Pat Flavin said that the family would be in the thoughts and prayers of everyone in the area.
“You hear this kind of thing on television, but you don't expect it to happen here. There are about 1800 people in this area. It is a small place. Everyone will support them and do what they can for them.”
Mr Flavin said it had been a tragic time for the wider community with five young teenagers being injured in a crash on the R633 Bog Road some 3km West of Youghal Strand last December.
“We have had a lot of tragedy. Now this. There was also a murder in the Decies Bar (in the village) many, many years ago.”
Meanwhile, a young mother whose kids were playing in the play area near Raheen Quay Walk in Clashmore shook her head in sorrow when head when asked about the tragedy.
“I don't really want to say anything as I live near it l. I wouldn't know what to say to you.
“I heard first thing and I couldn't even speak for a while because I have small kids myself and you know we all always worry about our small kids and the things that could happen.”
A woman who has lived in Clashmore for a few years said that she didn't know the family personally but that she was confident that the village would rally around them.
"There will no doubt be a guard of honour (for the funeral). We have done that for everybody and there have been a few deaths during Covid. It was done for a lady who died of breast cancer and for an older man. People will do what they can.”
A woman, who would only be identified as a “mother of five” said that the parish was numb at the news.
“I am out for my walk and its on my mind. I don't know them but I will say a prayer for them.”
Waterford Independent Councillor, Seamus O’Donnell, said that he had spoken to locals in Clashmore who had indicated their shock at what had occurred.
“This is is a very unusual thing to happen. The family are new in to Clashmore. They are originally from Youghal. That is a new housing estate.
“A woman I spoke to said she was only talking to the grandmother when she was out walking the baby yesterday. They were only talking about how nice the baby was.
“I was talking to another fella from the area and he said his wife is very upset about it. As a councillor I sympathise hugely with the family. It is very sad.”
Waterford Fine Gael Councillor, Pat Nugent, who is a native of Clashmore, said the tragedy had occurred just hours after what had been a fantastic day of festivities in the village.
“This is the last thing you would expect to wake up to on a bank holiday morning. We had such a lovely day in the village of Clashmore yesterday.
“We had a cancer appeal and the GAA club was involved in it and we had vintage cars and a tractor run. People were out walking. It was back to a bit of normality. The family aren’t very well known because they are renting and new to the area.
“We had a lovely mass yesterday morning. Little did we know that a tragedy would occur within 24 hours.
“It is a lovely village. The houses (where the tragedy occurred) are about 15 years old. Which is new there as it’s an old area. Three or four of them were sold and the rest are rented out.”