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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Bridal flowers and her baby's shawl recall life of tragic mum

Nicola Anderson

Published 21/01/2014 | 02:30

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The remains of Olivia Dunne arrive a Ss. Peter and Paul's Church, Balbriggan this morning for her funeral, inset, Olivia Dunne and her husband Ciaran
20/01/14 Ciaran Dunne,(third  from left, with his hand to his face) husband of  young mother, Olivia Dunne who was killed in a road accident last Friday in Balbriggan  follows her remains from  Ss. Peter and Paul's Church, Balbriggan this morning after her funeral...Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Ciaran Dunne husband of young mother Olivia Dunne

PINK roses and lilies were lovingly hand-selected by a radiant Olivia Dunne for her bridal bouquet.

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Just 18 months later and in the most bleakly opposing circumstances, the same flowers were again chosen by her heartbroken family for her funeral as they recalled her life, snuffed out in the cruellest of circumstances.

Olivia's four-month-old baby daughter, Eabha, is still fighting for her life at Temple Street Children's Hospital after the accident in Balbriggan last Friday which killed her mother.

BUGGY

Friends of Mrs Dunne have credited her with saving the life of her only child by desperately pushing the buggy away from the path of the oncoming vehicle.

Mourners were moved to tears by the sight of Eabha's lacy christening shawl, softly laid on Olivia's coffin - a painful symbol of the wrenching of mother from helpless infant.

Also on the coffin was a photograph of a smiling Olivia (31), her husband Ciaran and Eabha - one of the all-too-few family snaps that will be forever cherished by the grieving young man.

The couple had been "in the morning of their dreams with both hands reaching out to life".

But without warning, "all their dreams were shattered", chief celebrant Fr Declan Kelly told mourners at the funeral at St Peter and Paul's Church in Balbriggan.

It was the same church in which Olivia and Ciaran had been married in July 2012.

Fr Kelly reminded mourners of the wedding vows then taken by the couple, in which they had promised to love one another "in sickness and in health, all the days of our lives".

"Little did we know that we'd be here together such a short time after the joyful wedding."

Among the mourners were Health Minister James Reilly, Olivia's parents Margaret and Seamus, brother Derek and sisters Marguerite and Caroline.

Olivia, a primary school teacher, had been a "loving, perceptive and intelligent" person, Fr Kelly said.

He prayed for Ciaran and for the recovery of baby Eabha, saying the funeral was a "harrowing experience".

Ms Dunne had been on maternity leave from her teaching position at St Colmcille's NS in Swords, Co Dublin, since Eabha's birth last autumn.

In a touching tribute, her young pupils in their green uniforms stood in a solemn guard of honour as the coffin left the church for burial at Balrothery cemetery.

Irish Independent

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