| 12.3°C Dublin

Grieving family hit out at abuse after tot's death

Close

Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly (2) who was found dead at his home in Limerick.

Robert Kelly (2) who was found dead at his home in Limerick.

/

Robert Kelly

The family of a little boy who died from a viral infection has hit out at "vile and disgusting" messages posted on social media following his death.

Little Robert Kelly (2) died over the weekend at his home.

A post-mortem examination carried out at University Hospital Limerick yesterday revealed he died from a viral infection.

Robert was found unresponsive by his uncle Damien (20) when he went to wake him from an afternoon nap at his home in Limerick city on Saturday.

tragedy

Last night the child's grand-uncle, Derek Kelly, said the family are still trying to come to terms with his sudden death.

Mr Kelly also condemned abuse that he claims was directed at the family across social media following the tragedy.

"We're very irate," Mr Kelly said. "They were calling the family scumbags. One woman who put it up realised what she had done and took it back down again.

"There were some vile and disgusting comments on Facebook initially. As far as I know they have been taken down."

Dad Robert Kelly (21) said his son was a "great child".

"He was perfect. This shouldn't have happened. I love my son and there was nothing suspicious about what happened to him," he said.

Mr Kelly said he was forced to speak publicly after certain people spread rumours that there may have been something suspicious about his son's death at his home in Parnell Street.

He said his brother Damien phoned him on Saturday to say Robert would not wake up.

"I got a phone call. Straight away I freaked," he said. "Damien was minding my son. Damien is 20 and more than capable of minding my son."

Mr Kelly, who was the sole carer for Robert, told how he had come from a broken home and had promised the child would want for nothing.

"He was a rogue. He knew that if he wasn't getting what he wanted he'd come over kissing you to rogue you around, to get biscuits up in the press or a packet of crisps," he said.

Mr Kelly said he had "plans to bring him out into the countryside and rear him there because this city is no place to be rearing children".

He also told how the past 16 months of being Robert's full-time carer were the best days of his life.

"He was a clever little child and I was loving the whole lot of it, loving having him to myself. It was beautiful," he said.

"I had him myself nearly 16 months. I was just enjoying my life with my son, having him and looking after him and trying to do the best for him."

devastated

Another of Robert's grand-uncles, Anthony Kelly, said the toddler died from a viral infection that travelled to his heart and brain.

"No one could have saved him. We are all devastated, it was just a viral infection," he said.

"He showed no symptoms, no one could have done anything for him. If you get it as an adult you can fight it, but it's worse in a small child."

Tragedy has struck the family before.

Grand-uncle Michael Kelly, a former criminal and city councillor, died from a gunshot wound in 2004. Another grand-uncle, Damien Kelly, died in Cork prison in 1994.

hnews@herald.ie

Online Editors