Mother recalls death of child in lift shaft

Garda outside the Hynes Building in Galway

The distraught mother of the 3-year-old boy tragically killed in a lift shaft broke down yesterday as she recalled the moments leading up to the tragedy.

Solomon Soremekun died from crush injuries after falling into the lift shaft at the Hynes Building complex at St Augustine St in Galway City on Monday.

Solomon had been with his mother, Omolara Akinyede (known as Elizabeth) and his three sisters at the local social welfare office on the first floor of the building at about 3pm when the tragedy occurred.

He became detached from his family and was discovered shortly afterwards at the bottom of the lift shaft. Emergency services rushed to the scene but he was pronounced dead by a doctor.

His distraught mother had only arrived in Galway with her children in late December. The family had been living in Doughiska on the eastern outskirts of the city.

She was cared for overnight at a B&B and spent the morning at Galway University Hospital mortuary close to her son.

The mayor of Galway, Cllr Padraig Conneely yesterday visited her.

“She could not bear to return to the house where they had been living and where her little boy had been playing just the day before,” Mr Conneely said.

“I felt it only right that I visit her to express the sympathy of the people of the city on her tragic loss…

“When I asked her what had happened, she just cried and said, ‘I can’t bear it, this is a total daze — it happened in minutes’. She is devastated at the loss of her child,” he said.

Elizabeth qualified as a nurse in the UK and has been living in Ireland for the last seven years. Her three daughters are aged 7, 2 and 4 months. Her husband is not with her in Galway.

Members of the Nigerian community in Galway were yesterday attempting to put supports in place for the family as well as plans for a religious service.

Pastor Larry Ovie of the Faith Christian Fellowship church said that the family was in everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

“The whole community is in mourning at this moment. It is a tragedy that is not just for the mother, but for the Nigerian community and the African community as a whole.

“The lady just moved into Galway on the 27th of December and she is just about settling down in Galway, not even a month.

“We understand she went in there to sign a form for her housing, but we don’t really know what happened in between,” Pastor Ovie said.

A postmortem on the boy was completed yesterday at Galway University Hospital and the remains are expected to be released to his mother, possibly as early as today.

Meanwhile, Garda technical and forensic officers and inspectors from the Health and Safety Authority spent the day examining the lift and lift shaft where the tragedy occurred.

The two investigations were focused on trying to establish how the little boy gained access to the lift shaft and the sequence of events that followed.

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