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Partygoers questioned over death of 10-day-old baby

A 10-DAY-OLD baby boy died of severe head injuries and suspected brain damage while his Traveller family attended a New Year party in a house in Co Dublin.

Gardai were yesterday interviewing members of a settled Traveller family who attended the party at a house in North Dublin, after the death of the child, who suffered injuries to his head and body.

While the gardai are officially treating the death of the baby as suspicious, they are carrying out further inquiries before a decision is made involving the DPP's office on whether to upgrade it to a murder investigation.

A conference of garda detectives was held yesterday afternoon to determine how to progress the investigation, while the HSE was also involved in court moves concerning the family.

Gardai said they intended to interview everyone who attended the party.

A post-mortem on the small baby, understood to have weighed only around six pounds, showed that he had head and body injuries.

The baby was rushed from the house to Our Lady's Hospital in Drogheda shortly after midnight on Thursday but was pronounced dead at 2am.

The post-mortem examination was carried out later at the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk on Friday afternoon and the grim results were made known to the investigating officers.

The child and his family were visiting the house when the incident occurred. The boy, whose parents are in their 30s and have at least one other child, was a member of a large extended family of settled Travellers.

Garda senior technical officers were examining the house yesterday.

The detectives involved in the case are trying to find out how the boy's injuries occurred and have been interviewing several of the adults who were present in the house at the time.

So far, no arrests have been made.

Neighbours who live near the house described how they became concerned when they heard a commotion outside the house around midnight on Thursday and then saw an ambulance and fire brigade crews arrive.

One man said the mother of the child was out in front of the house crying.

"She was holding her face and she looked very distraught. I thought that maybe they had had a fight," one onlooker said.

Sunday Independent