GARDAÍ are treating the death of a three year old boy at his home in County Limerick this morning as a tragic accident.
The boy, named locally as Padraig Cunningham, was fatally injured when he was struck by a vehicle, at Ballyduhig, West Limerick, around 10.30am.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and desperately tried to save the boy’s life but he was pronounced dead at University Hospital Limerick.
A post mortem will be conducted by a local pathologist and the matter referred to the office of the Limerick Coroner for an inquest.
Local non-party councillor Jerome Scanlan, who is a family friend, said the local community would do its best to support the the boy’s heartbroken parents, Robert and Denise Cunningham, who is a former national school teacher.
The farming family were being comforted by relatives and friends as they tried to come to terms with the tragedy.
“We’re all trying to come to terms with the tragic news in Ballyduhig today, it’s just dreadful, a frightening thing to happen,” said Mr Scanlan.
“My heart goes out to the family, and it is just unbelievable that something like this could happen to a three and half year old child. It’s just a dreadful scenario. It’s dreadful for his mother and his father and his three sisters who are a few years old than him. The eldest is 12.”
“The parents are dedicated to their children, and this is the outcome. One never knows when you get up if you’re going to get to bed or what is going to face you.”
“The family are the pillars of the community in the Broadford – Raheenagh – Ballyduhig area. I know them very well, he was called after his grandad Patsy, who is a very nice gentleman in his 80s.”
Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins passed on his sympathies to the family and said the area had been plunged into a deep sadness.
“It’s an awful tragedy for the family involved, I have been talking to a number of people in the local community and they are utterly shocked and devastated by what has happened,” said Mr Collins.