Father of Santina Cawley stands by daughter's coffin throughout funeral Mass

The two-year-old will be laid to rest this afternoon in St Catherine's cemetery in Kilcully after the service at the North Cathedral in Cork.

Father of Santina Cawley stands by daughter's coffin throughout funeral Mass

The parents and siblings of a murdered toddler carried her casket from the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne to the hearse which took her to final resting place in a cemetery in Cork city today amid emotional scenes at her requiem mass.

Chief celebrant at the mass Fr Oscar O'Leary told mourners that Santina Cawley was a happy child who had a particular fondness for the Teletubbies.

He said her life may have been tragically short but she brought happiness to all those who knew her in her two years on this earth. Fr O'Leary added that Santina was a little angel.

"She (her mother Bridget) said 'She was my Angel. She always made me smile and laugh.' She (Santina) always knew what she wanted.

"She was very fond of the Teletubbies and if there were any other children around when the Teletubbies were on she would say to them to 'Hush I want to watch this.'

Santina was truly loved. Her life was short but remember it is not the length of days but what we put in to it.

Relatives of Santina wore white T-shirts with her image printed on the front. The back of the shirts bore the words “RIP Santina.”

Balloons with her image were also placed at the top of the church.

Offertory gifts, which were taken to the altar by her siblings Candice, Michael, Patrick and Thomas included a pink teddy bear and a troll doll.

Her father Michael cut a poignant figure standing for much of the mass with his hand placed on the coffin.

Family and relatives of Santina at her funeral. Her father Michael and mother Bridget lead the way. Picture: Provision
Family and relatives of Santina at her funeral. Her father Michael and mother Bridget lead the way. Picture: Provision

At the end of the Mass of the Angels Santina's mother, Bridget, and her three older brothers and sister went to the remembrance tree at the top of the church and placed her name on it.

Santina is survived by her parents Bridget and Michael and her siblings. She was laid to rest at St Catherine's Cemetery in Kilcully, Co Cork.

In a statement issued to the media her family said that they would forever mourn the loss of their precious Santina.

They also expressed gratitude to members of the public who raised funds through a Go Fund page which paid for the cost of the funeral.

The family are extremely grateful for the level of support, prayers and generosity the public have shown to them. Baby Santina's family can't express what it means to them.

The Bishop of Cork and Ross Most Reverend Fintan Gavin offered his condolences to the family. He apologised for not being able to attend but said her parents were in his thoughts and prayers.

Meanwhile, gardaí have renewed their appeal for information as over thirty members of the Force continue to investigate the murder.

Santina was found with critical injuries at the Elderwood flat complex in Boreenmanna Road in Cork city on July 5. She was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where she died four hours later.

Santina Cawley. Picture: Provision
Santina Cawley. Picture: Provision

Gardaí have appealed to members of the public who were in the Boreenmanna Road area last Thursday night and Friday morning to contact them, particularly if their vehicle is equipped with a dashcam.

A post mortem examination was carried out on the youngster at CUH by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.

It indicated that the death was murder. However, the results were not released for operational reasons.

A woman, who is not a relative of the child, was detained for questioning by gardaí in relation in the death. She was released without charge on Tuesday.

A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

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