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Irish cousins reeling over family's tragic loss

THE Irish cousins of a young American woman whose eight-year-old son was killed in the Boston Marathon atrocity have spoken of their horror at the terrorist attack.

Denise Richard is recovering from major eye surgery after her son Martin was killed in the blast and her daughter, Jane (5), who is a talented Irish dancer and won several awards, lost a leg.

Mrs Richard, nee O'Brien, is a proud Irish-American with her grandmother Helen hailing from outside Mitchelstown in Cork.

The young Boston woman spent most of her summers holidaying in Ireland, with her Irish cousins regularly travelling to Massachusetts to visit her and her family.

Her cousin, Una Fitzgerald, told the Irish Independent they were still reeling from the aftermath of Monday's bombing.

"We are just hoping and praying that Denise and Jane will be alright.

"But we are all heartbroken at the death of poor Martin. He was a gorgeous little boy," she said.

Una, who runs a successful florists in Mitchelstown, said Denise's Irish relatives have endured "a rollercoaster" of emotions given the enormous media coverage the atrocity has attracted.

Upsetting

"Some of it has been very upsetting because the facts are not correct. Denise did not suffer brain injuries. She underwent surgery on her eye and we're praying she will be alright," Una said.

"Her husband Bill did not run in the marathon. He was injured and couldn't compete but the entire family went along to watch the race and cheer on some friends.

"He wasn't hurt badly and will be alright."

Una said Denise's Irish cousins have been in daily contact with her family in Boston.

"It has been really hard watching the coverage on the TV and the photos in the newspapers knowing that one of your relatives was caught up in it."

Irish Independent