As the floral tributes piled up on the side of the road in Carrigaline, details emerged of the tragedy that claimed the life of a young childminder and spared the life of her charge. Named locally as Nicola, the young German au pair had arrived in Cork last August to look after Maedbh Bosteels, daughter of Fionnuala and Dom Bosteels of 5 Carrigmore, Carrigaline.
Neighbour Maria O’Gorman said the Bosteels were a quiet family who kept to themselves. Nicole, she said, could be seen “out with the buggy in all weathers”. She had a routine and would bring the child into Carrigaline in the morning. John, Maedbh’s brother, attends St Mary’s Primary School in the town.
Martina O’Connor, owner of In Touch, a newsagents in the town, described Nicole as “a lovely petite girl, a regular customer in the shop, always with the baby”. It was to Martina’s house, above the shop, that baby Maedbh was taken by the postman who rescued her from beneath the large delivery truck.
“He arrived with his arms wrapped around the baby. He stayed with her until her grandparents arrived. She was unharmed apart from a scratch on her face and two small grazes on her hand, but I think she was in shock, she was very quiet, quieter than a child her age would normally be, until her grandfather arrived,” Martina said.
Eugene McCarthy, Maedbh’s grandfather, from the Rock area of Carrigaline, was the first of the family to arrive at the scene. A neighbour of the Bosteels had already told gardaí that the dead au pair was not the child’s mother, as was initially believed. Ms O’Connor said the driver of the truck, one of the Togher-based Brendan Khan delivery fleet, was out of his mind with grief. He had been pulling out from the car park adjacent to Supervalu on to a sunlit Main Street when the accident happened at 9.40am. One witness said the au pair had died refusing to release the buggy which had got caught under the truck.
Neither Mrs Bosteels nor her husband, were in Cork when the accident happened. Mrs Bosteels, a solicitor with Ronan Daly Jermyn solicitors, travelled immediately from Dublin to be with her daughter on hearing of the accident. She was said to be devastated by the death of her au pair, who had lived with the Bosteels since she arrived in Cork.
Gardaí were yesterday interviewing the driver of the truck, belonging to the Togher-based Brendan Khan delivery fleet. He was treated for shock. The company could not be contacted for a comment. Traffic in Carrigaline is heavy at the best of times.
Census figures released last week show it is now ranked as having the highest car usage in the country with 74% of workers commuting by car to work.