'We will hold Belle in our hearts' - Crowd gathers to pay emotional tribute to baby found on Dublin beach
Dozens of people have gathered tonight to pay an emotional tribute to Baby Belle who was found on a Dublin beach last week and to show support for her mother who has yet to be identified.
At a candle-lit vigil this evening at St George’s Square in Balbriggan, local residents carried candles to the square where a priest prayed for Baby Belle who was discovered partially buried on a beach on Saturday morning.
A post-mortem revealed the baby girl was stillborn at full-term and was left on the beach not long after her mother gave birth.
The priest also prayed for the mother of the child and pleaded for her to come forward.
Gardaí investigating the discovery of the child’s body said they were not treating it as a criminal act and repeatedly urged the mother to come forward and receive the medical attention she requires.
Tonight, visitors to the small Dublin town said they turned out in a show of support with a message printed on a card reading “Christmas Message, be not afraid to seek medical help”.
Just a few days out of Christmas, the hundred-strong crowd performed versions of Silent Night and Away in a Manger.
“Balbriggan is a town that takes people to their hearts and we will hold Belle,” one local said.
Visitors to the small north Dublin town said they turned out in a show of support after the community was shocked by the news at the weekend.
Some five days after the newborn's body was discovered, fears that Belle's mother could be in urgent need of medical assistance has continued to worry the community.
"We want the mother to know whether she is from Balbriggan or not that there is a community behind her, so that if she is feeling isolated to come out and get the support she needs and to show that no one judges her," Balbriggan local Fiona Kavanagh said.
"I think the community felt like they had to come out and show that support, everybody was at home talking about it, feeling for her and her family and the baby.
"But also for the woman that found her on the beach, and to show her she wasn't alone. That was a huge tragedy for her and shocking for her to find."
Fingal County Councillor Grainne Maguire, who organised the vigil, said the community wished to show support for the mother.
"Firstly, we wanted to remember Baby Belle but we also wanted to show love and support for the mother.
"One of the purposes of tonight was to remember Baby Belle and people appreciate that she is an angel and we've got to give her all she deserves.
"She needs to be remembered, she needs to be prayed for and she needs to be put to rest."