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Sunday 18 February 2018

'In his short life he gave us so much happiness' - Hundreds of mourners attend special memorial for tragic 11-month-old baby

A photo of smiling Baby Karol on the altar at St Mary's Cathedral. (Inset) Mother Anna Rozycka carries a photograph of her 11-month-old son to the altar
A photo of smiling Baby Karol on the altar at St Mary's Cathedral. (Inset) Mother Anna Rozycka carries a photograph of her 11-month-old son to the altar
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

The mother of an 11-month-old baby found dead at an apartment in Killarney on Sunday has led about 500 mourners at a special memorial mass in the town.

Close family friend, Damian, paid tribute to the little Karol Rozycki, whom he said brought so much happiness in his all too short life.

He told mourners at St Mary's Cathedral: "Karol was a lovely boy. In his short life he gave us so much happiness, more than someone with a long life could have. May he rest in peace."

A sobbing Anna Rozycka carried a photograph of her smiling baby son to the altar at St Mary's Cathedral in Killarney.

Anna Rozycka and her son Karol
Anna Rozycka and her son Karol

She made the grim discovery of her child's lifeless body at around 6pm on Sunday after she returned from work - on Mother's Day.

He was pronounced dead at the scene some time later.

It is understood the child had been suffocated, though gardai have not revealed the results of the post-mortem examination for operational reasons.

Officers are still waiting to interview her partner, Andrzez Piolunowicz, who had been minding the child and is in University Hospital Kerry in Tralee, where he is said to be in a serious but stable condition.

The photograph, some toys, flowers and candles were among the symbols offered at the mass for Baby Karol, who is believed to have been smothered to death at his home in Killarney on Sunday.

Polish Chaplin Piotr Delimat, the chief celebrant of the bilingual mass, said little Karol or 'maly Karolek', as he was referred to throughout, had united both communities.

"Karol has brought the Polish and Irish communities together. He unites us, a baby boy and all our children no matter where we're from, we all love our children.

About 500 people attended the mass, including members of the Polish community, people from the town and Anna's colleagues from the Aghadoe Heights Hotel, where she worked.

Parish priest, Fr Kieran O'Brien, said many ordinary people had contacted him, wishing to show their support for the young mother.

He added: "Today is a sad occasion for Anna, her family and the Polish community here in Killarney as we try to journey with them to lighten their burden in whatever way is possible.

"Anna is very grateful for all the support she has received, from her colleagues in the Aghadoe Heights Hotel, the Gardai, residents and staff at Park Place, and the wider community here in Killarney.

"To see so many of you gathered in our cathedral says many things to Anna.

"What she asks now from us is our prayers for her family.

"We think baby Karol and the 11 months he shared their family life and how he brightened up their lives and I'm sure baby Karol will continue to be their strength at this time. And we pray God will heal his family's broken hearts."

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