A FATHER spoke of how he "lost the best part of his life" when told his two-year-old son had been found dead at home.
Toddler Robert Kelly was found in his home on Parnell Street, Limerick, unresponsive after going for a nap.
In an emotional interview, his father Robert Kelly Snr (21) said: "He was a good lad. He was perfect. This shouldn't have happened. I love my son."
A post-mortem examination revealed the toddler died from a viral infection, his grand-uncle Anthony Kelly said.
"No one could have saved him. We are all devastated.
"It was a viral infection that either travelled to his heart or his brain.
"He showed no symptoms, no one could have done anything for him," Mr Kelly said.
"If you get it as an adult you can seemingly fight it, but it's worse if you are a small child," he added.
The child's father lovingly described his son as the "only reason" he got out of bed in the morning.
Mr Kelly said his plans to move his son out of Limerick, "take him into the countryside and rear him there", were "put to a stop".
He described last Christmas as one of the best he'd ever had.
The child's grand-uncle, Derek Kelly, said the family were still trying to come to terms with Robert's death.
He will be buried alongside grand-uncles Michael and Damien.
Michael was known as a gang enforcer in the 1980s, later turning his back on crime to become a local politician.
He died in June 2004, four weeks after sustaining a single gunshot wound to his head at his mother's house in Limerick. Gardai believe he killed himself, although the gun was never found.
Damien died tragically in Fort Mitchell on Spike Island in 1994.