The country has reacted with shock and sympathy to the death of Chloe Fogarty who was the only child of Louise and Paul Fogarty from west Tipperary.
A post-mortem is expected to be carried out at University Hospital Limerick today before the body of the seven-month-old can be released to her family.
The baby will repose at her home in Tipperary town on Sunday evening and Mass of the Angels will take place at St Nicholas’s Church in Solohead on Monday, followed by a private burial.
A coroner’s inquest will be held, probably next year, into all of the circumstances surrounding the death.
Louise Fogarty, originally McInerney, is from Tipperary town and Paul is from Kilfeacle which is in the parish of Golden-Kilfeacle. The couple got married in 2015 and Chloe was born last October.
Paul Fogarty’s parents are Joe and Mae and the entire family have been deeply involved in the GAA for many years. Joe, who is also involved in horseracing, played hurling with the Tipperary intermediate team in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Fogarty family recently bought some land in Kilfeacle and it’s understood Paul and Louise were planning to build a house. They currently live in a rented house in Tipperary town.
Paul plays football and hurling with the Golden-Kilfeacle GAA club, as have his brothers over the years.
He works in management at O’Dwyer Steel in Dundrum, about 12km from Tipperary town. It is understood that he headed off in his car to work at about 8am on Thursday and was due to drop Chloe off at a nearby creche, but got distracted — possibly by a phone call — and instead drove straight to work, with the baby girl left in the car throughout the morning.
He realised what had happened shortly after 1pm and emergency services were called, along with a local GP who attended the scene in Dundrum. Chloe was in an “unresponsive state” by then, according to gardaí, and she was brought to the nearby GAA field which is used by the Knockavilla-Dundrum-Donaskeigh club.
A helicopter was dispatched and airlifted the little girl to University Hospital Limerick but attempts to save her proved fruitless and she was pronounced dead later on Thursday afternoon.
Gardaí are investigating all of the circumstances surrounding the death but have described what happened as “a personal tragedy” and a “very sensitive case”.
Because of the grief caused to the little girl’s parents, it is likely to be some time before full statements can be taken for a coroner’s inquiry. Meanwhile, it can take up to four months before a post-mortem report is sent to a coroner to be used at an inquest.
Parish priest in Golden-Kilfeacle, Fr Pat Coffey, said the entire community wants to support the family.
“It’s just a case of shell-shock,” he said of the local reaction to the tragedy.
“I know the extended family, it’s quite a big family. Everybody is feeling for them.”
Both O’Dwyer Steel and Golden-Kilfeacle GAA Club declined to comment yesterday on the tragedy.
Local man Joe Murphy, who knows Paul Fogarty through his GAA involvement, said it is a “shocking tragedy” and that people are reacting with disbelief: “The priority for everyone in the community is to support the family at this difficult time.”
Local councillor Michael Fitzgerald, who knows the family, said there is “absolute devastation” in the community.
“It’s very, very hard. It’s at times like these that a community kicks in and you would see how people support people, without interfering. People like to be able to do whatever can be done.”