Sunday 22 October 2017

'Fly with the angels' - residents pay tribute at shrine to little Omar

A woman places flowers at the Riverside apartment complex in Kimmage. Photo: Doug O'Connor
A woman places flowers at the Riverside apartment complex in Kimmage. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A shrine to little Omar Omran has been growing steadily outside the Riverside apartment complex in Kimmage since news of his violent and tragic death first emerged late on Monday evening.

The poignant messages are all the more sorrowful because they are from the hearts of people who never met him, but feel his loss nonetheless.

Teddy bears, soft toy animals, flowers, candles and balloons have all been left at the gates by locals.

"Rest in peace, poor child. Fly with the angels," reads one message on a single flower.

"You got your wings too early," reads another.

Asked whether they knew Omar or his mother Maha Al-Adheem, who is being treated in St James's Hospital while gardaí wait to interview her, the people leaving their tributes and toys conceded they didn't.

A message on flowers at the Riverside apartment complex, Kimmage where Omar's body was discovered. Photo: Collins
A message on flowers at the Riverside apartment complex, Kimmage where Omar's body was discovered. Photo: Collins

"It just seemed like the right thing to do. We only live up the road.

"We saw it on the news and couldn't believe it happened so close to us," said Greg Byrne and Reddy Thumma, who arrived early with a neat bouquet of flowers.

People driving by slowed to bless themselves, while inside the complex a team from the Garda Technical Bureau was carrying out the grim task of photographing the scene, taking measurements, and gathering forensic evidence.

Then the silver ambulance from the city morgue arrived and reversed up to the front door.

Gardaí in their white forensic boiler suits and hoods quietly carried Omar's body down to it on a stretcher, with a red cover draped over him.

The ambulance waited briefly for the gates to open.

A little stuffed toy giraffe pushed into the rails on the gate carried a message printed on a page and pinned to it.

"Why?" it read.

When the technical bureau and city morgue workers had gone, the scene quietened, and residents coming home stood and looked.

A passing glance would yield no sign of this desperate tragedy.

But on closer inspection the silhouette of a tall garda sitting on a chair outside a first floor apartment was the reminder that Omar would not be coming back.

One resident said that Maha was a caring woman, qualified as a doctor, who often offered help to her neighbours.

"I just can't believe it. I can't take it in.

"I don't know what happened," they said.

Irish Independent

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