By David Raleigh
The family of a two-year old boy who fell from a sixth-floor hotel balcony in Limerick on Saturday is keeping a vigil at his bedside at Temple Street Children's Hospital.
The boy has been named locally as Neil Shanahan, from Faranshone, Limerick city.
His parents Michael and Martina remain at his bedside praying he will recover.
The toddler had been with family members who were attending a coffee morning and meeting of the Farranshone Residents Association at The Strand Hotel, last Saturday.
Neil, who is the youngest of three children, is believed to have wandered off and into an escalator at the hotel before making his way to the sixth floor.
Somehow he managed to find his way to a balcony before he fell about 20 metres onto patio furniture outside the hotel.
Neil was treated at the scene by a local doctor before paramedics rushed him by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick. He was later transferred by ambulance to Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin where he remains in a critical condition.
Fianna Fáil TD, Willie O'Dea, came upon the incident last Saturday.
"There was a large group of people gathered around...they weren't sure how badly injured the child was, or how far he or she had fallen," Mr O'Dea said.
"I can't even begin to imagine what the family must be going through. My heart goes out to them."
The former minister, whose nephew Basil Bourke, (24), drowned, after coming off a party boat in Ibiza in 2006, said: "My thoughts and prayers are with them, because as somebody who has suffered tragedy within their own family some years ago I have some small idea of what the family must be going through."
He described the tragedy at The Strand as "horrendous", adding: "I sincerely hope and pray that the child will be alright."
"It's difficult to find words to describe the awfulness of something like that and its impact on the family."
A spokesperson for The Strand Hotel said: "We are still trying to determine what exactly happened."
Gardaí are treating the case as a tragic accident.