A DEVASTATED mother-of-six has pleaded with "heartless" thieves to return an urn containing the ashes of her parents, which was stolen from her home.
Rosaleen Kelly (36) had been celebrating the birth of her first grandchild on New Year's Eve and returned home to find her house had been ransacked and the precious urn containing her father's and mother's ashes missing.
Televisions, DVD players, the children's Christmas presents, jewellery, and a heater were among the items stolen after thieves smashed their way in through a sitting room window at Rosaleen's home in Deerpark Place, Tallaght, Dublin, shortly before 4am on New Year's Day.
She believes the callous robbers must have had a car or van outside to remove their haul from the house.
But her biggest shock was to discover that also missing was a six-inch square black box containing the ashes of her parents, Joe and Rose Curley, both of whom were from the Avonbeg area of Tallaght.
"I'm devastated. This is the cruellest thing to have happened. They have no heart. I don't deserve this, my kids don't deserve this," said Rosaleen.
She made the shocking discovery after returning home following the birth of her first grandchild, Kayla, who was born to her eldest daughter Stephanie (19) in the Coombe Hospital on New Year's Eve.
"It was one of the first things I noticed missing, I still can't believe this has happened," she said.
Rosaleen, who has five other children – Deane (17), John (13), Sophie (8) Katie (5) and three-and-half-year-old Cian – dropped in to a friend who was looking after her younger children.
It was only after she arrived back home just before 4am on New Year's Day that she found her home ransacked.
"I was so happy coming home – this was my first grandchild – and then I came into this," she said.
"Children's toys and the other things you can replace but ashes, you can't replace them. They're no use to anyone else. They even went as far as taking a nightlight from the side of one of the children's beds."
Rosaleen explained that her mother had died five years ago and her dad one year later and while some of their ashes had been scattered in Ballybunion – a favourite holiday spot – she also had kept some in the distinctive urn on a shelf over the TV in the sitting room.
The box had a glass top and two dolphin emblems on one side and Rosaleen believes the thieves may have mistaken it for a jewellery box.
"Please give them back if you have any heart," she said in a desperate plea.
"This is breaking our hearts.
"The only thing that's keeping me going is the arrival of Kayla – she has brought some little joy out of all of this."
Tallaght gardai, who are investigating the robbery, said anyone with information can contact them on 01 6666000 or on the garda confidential line 1800 666111.