Gardaí continue investigation into how toddler fell from sixth floor of Limerick hotel

Gardaí continue investigation into how toddler fell from sixth floor of Limerick hotel

Neighbours of the family of a two-year old boy, who fell from the sixth floor of a hotel, said, they are praying he will make a full recovery. writes David Raleigh.

Meanwhile, gardaí said they are continuing to investigate the circumstances that led to the toddler accessing the rooftop balcony at The Strand Hotel, Limerick, last Saturday.

According to neighbours, little Neil Shanahan was with his mother Martina and his infant brother, attending a coffee morning event at the hotel, when he wandered off in the direction of an elevator on the ground floor.

Neighbours said they believed the boy's older brother, who is aged six or seven, and who was born with cerebral palsy, was with his father Michael, as both enjoyed the hotel's leisure facilities, at the time.

The injured toddler rode an elevator to the top floor of the hotel before venturing out onto a rooftop balcony.

Gardaí are interviewing hotel staff and harvesting CCTV footage as their investigation continues.

The boy is said to be in a critical condition at Temple Street Children's Hospital, Dublin, and is being treated for multiple injuries.

A woman, who was at the hotel at the time of the tragic incident, and who did not wish to be identified, said: "I am just devastated at what happened."

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family," she said.

Neighbours described Martina Shanahan as frantic, after she discovered her toddler son was missing and then critically injured outside the hotel.

"She kept shouting at staff to call the (emergency services). God love her," one neighbour said.

"They have one boy with cerebral palsy. The oldest boy is six or seven, and Neil is two." "They have a baby boy about eight or nine months old too," they added.

"It's horrible."

The neighbour described the Shanahan family as "very normal, hardworking people."

"Martina is a very friendly, a very outgoing woman," the woman said.

Another woman, living locally, said: "They're lovely neighbours, and I know Martina would go out of her way to help anybody."

Ms Shanahan was attending a get-together of members of the Farranshone Residents Association, when her young son went exploring the hotel.

"There was a friendly local group having coffee, and as to what happened after that I have no idea," a member of the residents association said.

"It's totally tragic. It's sad," they added.

A spokesperson for the hotel said they could not comment on speculation that a door leading to the balcony on the sixth floor may have been left open while it was been cleaned and prepared for a function that was booked to go ahead prior to the tragedy.

"I can't comment on anything, on - or - off the record," the hotel spokesperson said.

A source said Ms Shanahan had been "preparing to leave the hotel" when she looked for her son but he was nowhere to be seen.

"She was just preparing to leave, and she ran outside looking for him, and someone said they had seen him go up in the lift," the source said.

"It all happened in the space of seconds, one minute he was there, and the next, he was gone. It's horrendous."

Superintendent Derek Smart, Henry Street Garda Station, said while gardaí were "treating it as a tragic accident", the circumstances which led to how the boy accessed the rooftop balcony were still being probed.

"The hotel is working very closely with us, as to the circumstances surrounding what happened," Supt Smart said.

He added: "We have been in contact with the HSA (Health and Safety Authority), because of the circumstances involved, but (Gardai) are maintaining the lead in the investigation, while continuing to liaise with the HSA."

Roisin Meaney, a well-known local author and neighbour of the Shanahan's, said: "We are all anxiously waiting for the news of the boy."

"We are all deeply shocked and we are all rooting for him to make a full recovery," she added

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