Members of the Defence Forces paid poignant tributes in Limerick and Lebanon yesterday to the little girl who soldiers called their “guardian angel”.
As Aishlinn Quaid’s white coffin was brought to St Paul’s church in Doora-doyle, members of the Transport Corps Reserve formed a guard of honour.
In Lebanon, Aishlinn was prayed for at a Mass attended by members of the Unifil mission there.
Aishlinn, 6, from Russell Lawn, Ballykeeffe, Co Limerick, lost a lifelong battle with cancer last week
Over the years, Aishlinn spent long periods in hospitals in Dublin and Limerick, and underwent surgery for brain tumours.
Her parents Eamon and Marie both serve with the Army Reserve.
Eamon, a garda, works in the superintendent’s office at Henry St in Limerick and Marie works at Mary Immaculate College.
Cmdt Gerry Purcell, who led the guard of honour before the requiem Mass yesterday, said: “Eamon and Marie have cared magnificently for Aishlinn through her all too short life. We all got to know Aishlinn over the years and she was like a very special member of our unit.
“We called her our own ‘guardian angel’. She was like our mascot. She would be at Sarsfield Barracks when we got ready for the St Patrick’s Day parade. At Christmas Eve night Mass, Aishlinn always had the special duty of placing the baby Jesus in the crib.”
Another reservist, Company Sgt Joe Lawton, a driver with Bus Éireann, said: “All of us have known Aishlinn throughout her brave life. She knew us all and it was always great and inspiring to meet her when her parents brought her to the barracks.”
Fr John Leonard concelebrated Mass of the Angels for Aishlinn and told the congregation the girl was one of the most loveable children he had ever met.
“We all got to know Aishlinn, and her death at such a young age leaves a huge gap in the lives of her parents, Eamon and Marie.”
A large force of gardaí was led by Chief Supt David Sheahan, head of the Limerick division.
The funeral cortege was flanked by Garda motorbike outriders as it made its way to Castlemungret Cemetery.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved