Tuesday 22 August 2017

'A total nightmare' - Community rallies around parents of tragic baby Chloe

Louise and Paul Fogarty
Louise and Paul Fogarty

Ralph Riegel and Ian Begley

Gardaí fear temperatures may have soared to more than 27 degrees inside a parked car where a seven-month-old baby girl was sleeping on the hottest day of the year.

Little Chloe Fogarty is believed to have been in the parked car for between four and five hours before she was discovered unresponsive by her horrified father Paul, shortly before 1pm on Thursday.

Gardai outside O'Dwyer Steel in Dundrum, County Tipperary (Picture: Mark Condren)
Gardai outside O'Dwyer Steel in Dundrum, County Tipperary (Picture: Mark Condren)

Mr Fogarty, who works in O'Dwyer Steel in Tipperary, is understood to have been distracted by a phone call and didn't realise his little girl was still in the parked car.

She had been due to be dropped at a crèche outside Tipperary town around 8.30am.

Chloe's mother Louise had only recently returned to work from maternity leave - and it is understood their new crèche arrangements had only been in place for a matter of days.

The car in which Chloe was sleeping is believed to have been unattended for a number of hours.

A member of staff of O’Dwyer Steel in Dundrum, Co Tipperary staff lays flowers. Photo: Mark Condren
A member of staff of O’Dwyer Steel in Dundrum, Co Tipperary staff lays flowers. Photo: Mark Condren
Staff of O'Dwyer Steel in Dundrum, County Tipperary who layed flowers in tribute to baby Chloe Fogarty (Picture: Mark Condren)

Chloe died at 5pm shortly after being transferred by air ambulance from Dundrum, Co Tipperary, to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) despite desperate efforts by doctors to save her.

She died with her father and mother by her Limerick hospital bedside.

Kilfeacle parish priest Fr Pat Coffey said the community was left reeling by the tragedy.

"It is just a case of being shell-shocked. Everybody is feeling for the family," he said.

More than 40 colleagues from O'Dwyer Steel laid flowers, a candle and a panda teddy in the plant car park, just metres from where Chloe was discovered unresponsive on Thursday.

For 15 minutes, they prayed and fought back tears in memory of their colleague's little girl.

In a moving tribute, a bouquet carried the simple message: "Our thoughts are with you from staff at O'Dwyer Steel."

The impromptu service took place after noon - almost exactly the time Chloe was discovered on Thursday.

Louise Fogarty, nee McInerney, is from Tipperary town while her husband, Paul, is from the parish of Golden-Kilfeacle. The couple married less than two years ago.

Chloe, who was born last October, was their only child.

They live in a rented property in Tipperary town as they planned to build their dream home in Kilfeacle.

The Fogarty and McInerney families yesterday appealed for privacy as they struggled to come to terms with what one neighbour described as "a total nightmare".

Paul is a keen GAA player and played club matches at Kickham's GAA pitch, from where his little girl was transferred by air ambulance to UHL on Thursday. He plays with Golden-Kilfeacle. Mr Fogarty's parents, Joe and Mae, are very well known in sporting circles in Tipperary, being involved in both GAA and horse racing.

Gardaí are investigating the incident which is being treated by Tipperary officers as "a terrible tragedy." A post-mortem examination will be carried out today. It is suspected that Chloe, who was "unresponsive" when she was found, died from heat stroke.

The examination will be carried out this morning at University Hospital Limerick by the State pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy. Gardaí are liaising with the baby's family but are unlikely to conduct detailed interviews with the parents until after the funeral. In the meantime, officers are continuing with other strands of their investigation into what they called "a very sensitive case".

A file will be prepared for the coroner's office. However, an inquest will not take place until next year.

Councillor Michael Fitzgerald, who knows Paul, said everyone was heartbroken.

"It is absolute devastation in the community. It is very, very hard - it is at times like these that a community kicks in and you would see how people support their friends and neighbours without interfering.

"People like to be able to do whatever can be done."

Chloe's Mass of the Angels will be on Monday at 11.30am in the Church of St Nicholas in Solohead.

Irish Independent

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