The heartbroken family of a young mother who died after a suspected assault in a derelict Cork city centre building said that if love could have saved her, she would have lived forever.
Hundreds attended the Requiem Mass of mother-of-one Amy McCarthy (23) this morning. The Greenmount native was described as a kind girl with a heart of gold.
Amy was found dead in a derelict building off Sheares Street in Cork city centre on April 30 last.
She was the victim of a suspected assault.
Amy's sister, Hayley, paid tribute to her sibling as she thanked all those who had comforted her devastated family over recent times.
"I never, ever thought we would be here like this. I would like to thank everyone for their support over the past week," she told mourners in St Finbarr's (South) Church.
"Amy had a heart of gold. After she had baby Adam [now 18 months] she was such a wonderful mother."
"She will always be our loving sister and friend."
"It just goes to show from how many people that are here today, Amy was such a popular girl."
"One memory we will always cherish is Adam's first Christmas. Amy had all Adam's toys and to see his face on Christmas morning."
"Even though she is not here with us, there will always be a part of her around thanks to baby Adam."
"We will cherish him forever."
"If love could have saved Amy, she would have lived forever," she added.
The mourners were led by Amy's parents, Brian and Regina, and her siblings, Gillian, Jessica and Hayley.
The young mother's coffin was topped by a photo of her with her son and a cuddly toy placed by her mother, Regina.
Following Requiem Mass celebrated by Fr Eoin Whooley, Ms McCarthy was buried at St Oliver's Cemetery in Ballincollig.
While detectives believe that Ms McCarthy was the victim of an assault in the hours before her death, they have not yet upgraded their investigation to a murder inquiry.
Gardai have refused to comment on the preliminary findings of the post-mortem examination by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster for operational reasons.
Detectives are still awaiting the results of detailed toxicology tests.
Gardai are trying to determine precisely how the young woman sustained visible injuries to her face, head and neck.
It is understood Ms McCarthy entered the derelict building sometime between April 28 and 29 with three other people after a security hoarding was torn down from a downstairs window.
The body of the young woman was discovered in an upstairs room at the property early on Sunday morning, April 30.
Despite desperate attempts to revive her, she was pronounced dead at the scene before she could be transferred to the nearby Mercy University Hospital (MUH).
The premises had been vacant for a period of months.
Several of those visiting the squat are known to have availed of homeless support services in the Cork area over recent times.
A number are also known to have suffered from serious alcohol and drug addiction problems.
One of those with Ms McCarthy raised the alarm at 7am on Sunday when they were unable to wake her for breakfast.
Gardaí have already taken several detailed statements from those who were at or near the property.
Officers said they are satisfied that Ms McCarthy was not living at the squat for more than 48 hours.
The area has a number of business premises and Gardaí are examining CCTV security camera footage to determine the last known movements of the deceased.
It is understood that some CCTV footage has already been obtained in which Ms McCarthy is seen walking near the property.
The property involved is located to the rear of Mercy University Hospital (MUH) and just a short distance from the Bridewell Garda Station.