A FAMILY devastated by the death of a four-year-old boy believe swine flu may have contributed to his death.
Little Mikey Connors from Coolnacon, Clonroche, Co Wexford, lost his battle for life after he had been transferred to Temple Street Hospital in Dublin.
He had been brought there from Wexford General Hospital last Thursday night after his condition worsened and he died following a seizure on Friday.
Last night, his heartbroken uncle said that while the results of a post-mortem were not yet available, the family believed Mikey may have died after contracting the swine flu virus. The son of Paddy and Kitty Connors, he had one brother, Johnny, who is just 17 months old.
"Mikey was a lovely little chap," said his uncle Larry Connors. "He loved horses and watching cartoons on TV. The family is devastated, as well as the whole village of Clonroche. At his funeral, the whole village came to a standstill," he said.
"We think it was a flu that killed him, possibly swine flu," he added.
Mr Connors explained how little Mikey had been in great health until last week, but had an underlying condition from when he was an infant that would have made him vulnerable to swine flu.
When he was only 10 weeks old, Mikey had problems with his liver. He later made a good recovery and regained his health as he grew up.
Regular check-ups at Crumlin Children's Hospital confirmed the lively little boy was in good health.
"The last thing we ever thought was that something like this would happen... he was such a sunny, little chap," Mr Connors said.
He said that the family believed his nephew died after contracting swine flu, which he could not fend off due to his tender years and his previous liver problem.
Mikey had received a swine flu vaccination last year, but it may not have been enough. His tragic death had robbed his family of a bright, beautiful and much-loved little boy.
News of the young boy's tragic death came as a south Wicklow community was praying for the recovery of a Coolboy man who is fighting for his life after contracting swine flu.
Padraig Gregan (32) was transferred from Wexford General Hospital to Cork University Hospital on Monday after falling ill.
"If people could see Padraig, who was a perfectly healthy man, now, they would not recognise him. He is absolutely going through the mill.
"We urge anyone who has concerns no matter how minor to see a doctor," his sister Mary said.