Boy dies in bike fall on last day of holidays
AN eight-year-old boy killed in a freak bike accident was due to start back at school yesterday.
Roan Villaneuva-Harrington died from suspected internal chest injuries when he fell from his bike near his west Cork home on Sunday.
The youngster, of Ballydonegan near Allihies in Beara, was set to begin second class at Cahermore National School.
Instead, classmates said prayers for their friend, who was described as a happy little boy who loved the outdoors.
His devastated mother Margaret Harrington, father Angel Jose Villaneuva and brothers Euan (12) and Oran (10) are being comforted by family and friends.
The young boy fell from his bike while playing with his two older brothers near Ballydonegan beach in the Cork village.
He was found by a local resident who contacted emergency services but was pronounced dead en route to Bantry General Hospital.
School principal Padraig O'Sullivan said they decided to keep the school open yesterday so that they could talk to the other children and help them come to terms with what happened.
"It was the first day back at school and we all arrived for what would normally be a happy occasion. But there was a huge cloud over the school.
"We decided to stay open as we thought it would be best for the children to come together and that we could talk to them and help them deal with the grief and the tragedy that has unfolded."
Mr O'Sullivan said the three brothers were good friends who always played together outside school.
"He was a lovely young boy. He was very popular and loved playing outside. He was a very happy child who will be sadly missed in the school," Mr O'Sullivan said.
While funeral arrangements have yet to be finalised, the requiem Mass is expected to be held on Thursday.
Parish priest Fr Kieran O'Sullivan said the tragic accident had shocked the community. "The family are in total shock," he said.
"All our thoughts and prayers go out to them during this very difficult time."
Roan's remains were brought home to his devastated family yesterday afternoon. He will be buried after funeral mass at St Michael's Church in Allihies tomorrow
Local Fine Gael councillor Jerry O'Sullivan said the entire community was absolutely devastated by what had happened.
"The whole community is absolutely shocked. It's sad to think he was due to restart school and to think that there's one young lad less in the class is absolutely devastating for the area. My sympathies go out to his mum and dad and extended family."
Gardai say the fall was a tragic accident and no other vehicle was involved. Anyone who was in the area at the time is asked to contact Castletownbere garda station on 027 70002.