Monday 11 December 2017

Boy (8) injured in quad bike crash dies in hospital

The crashed quad bike near the scene of the accident in Whitegate, Co Clare. Inset: Ultan Hayes meets sporting hero Lifeimi Mafi in 2011. Press 22 / Sportsfile
The crashed quad bike near the scene of the accident in Whitegate, Co Clare. Inset: Ultan Hayes meets sporting hero Lifeimi Mafi in 2011. Press 22 / Sportsfile

Gordon Deegan and Sam Griffin

AN eight-year-old boy who was involved in a serious quad bike accident has died in hospital.

Ultan Hayes (8) was travelling on the bike with his father Brian when they lost control and hit a wall on Thursday evening.

It is understood that Mr Hayes (41) had only purchased the quad bike in recent days and the two were a short distance from the family home on a local road at Whitegate, Co Clare, at 9.10pm when the accident occurred.

Parish priest Fr John Jones, who heard Ultan's First Confession on the day of the tragic crash, said the whole community was devastated by the news.

"He was a wonderful child. The children in the school and the whole community are saddened by this," he told the Irish Independent.

"It's a very small, close community. The family would be extremely well-regarded.

"He got his First Confession yesterday – I heard that. And he was preparing for his First Communion in just four weeks' time. It's very sad for everyone."

Dad-of-four Brian Hayes sustained non-life-threatening injuries but Ultan was immediately removed to University Hospital Limerick. He was transferred to Temple Street Children's Hospital but he passed away yesterday evening.

Ultan and his seven classmates at Mountshannon NS had attended Mass for their First Confessions on Thursday afternoon – hours before the quad bike accident.

The sports-mad member of Whitegate GAA club also trained with his under-eights hurling team-mates before joining his father for the short trip on the quad bike.

The boy is the grandson of a well-known retired garda who had been stationed for many years in Broadford while his family is well-known in the local community, particularly in the local GAA club.

Mountshannon NS principal Jim Collins yesterday described Ultan as very popular with all of his classmates.

He added that the school and the wider community was "in shock" at news of the accident.

Mr Collins said: "There is a very strong sense of community here and people have rallied around with parents arriving at the school today offering to give any help they can."

Secretary at Whitegate GAA Club Tony O'Rourke said yesterday that Ultan was "a talented young hurler".

Family friend and local TD Timmy Dooley said: "What has happened is a huge tragedy for the Hayes family and the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

And local councillor Pat Burke said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. The whole community is praying for his family."

Gardai from Scarriff, who have described the incident as a "sad and tragic accident", are investigating the cause of the crash but are not seeking witnesses.

Irish Independent

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