Shock as Ollie (3) dies after sudden illness
'Words just don't fit into this, you don't know what to say'
A tiny Wexford townland is in shock following the death of a three-year-old boy who is understood to have developed flu-like symptoms.
Ollie Dempsey (3) died on Tuesday in Wexford General Hospital.
Initial reports suggested the child had experienced flu-like symptoms before his passing.
However, a family member told the Irish Independent last night, that they were still very much unclear as to the cause of the sickness though it all happened very quickly.
The child appeared to be in good health and good spirits before Tuesday.
The family member said the causes of his illness may not become clear for some time.
The young boy was reposed last night at his home in Monamolin - with hundreds of people arriving to express their sympathies.
It is expected that an even larger crowd will be in attendance at the child's funeral which will take place this afternoon.
Yesterday the area was effectively shut down, with all locals paying their respects to devastated parents Barry and Jane, who have three other young children.
Fianna Fáil councillor Pip Breen told the Irish Independent that he expected the townland to be similarly quiet tomorrow, as everyone tries to come to terms with the tragedy that has struck the area.
"There'll be a massive crowd there at the funeral tomorrow and people will have been coming and going [last night] expressing their sympathies," Mr Breen said.
"The village closed down. It's a shocking thing to happen. For a young child who had been running around the day before and then this. Words don't fit into this, you just don't know what to say," he added.
The councillor said that friends were making sandwiches for after the funeral and everyone would get behind the family and help.
Eileen Burke, from Monamolin, said everybody had been talking about the tragedy.
"It's terrible, you hear so many different stories," she said. "It's just so sad, isn't it? It just makes you think ... if it was the flu, people would be so scared. It's awful for this to happen to such a young child."
Independent councillor Mary Farrell reiterated the community's struggle to come to terms with what happened.
"The whole community is in shock, the family are traumatised," she said. "It's absolutely heartbreaking. They're a young family, well-known in the area. It really is such a tragic loss."
Labour councillor George Lawlor said: "As far as I'm aware, Ollie was in good health but it's hard to know the cause of death at this stage.
"It's just an awful tragedy, the whole community is deeply affected by this.
"It's unimaginable heartbreak for the family. My thoughts and condolences are with the Dempsey family."
The funeral for Ollie Dempsey will take place today at St Moling's Church, Monamolin, at 1pm.
The news comes less than two weeks after the tragic death of a 15-year-old boy from Finglas in Dublin.
Sean Hughes (15) was a budding rapper and his music shot up the iTunes charts in the wake of his untimely death.
He began displaying flu-like symptoms on Wednesday, January 10, before passing away in hospital two days later.