Anthony (8) death is a tragedy beyond words

Ralph Riegel

THE Health Service Executive (HSE) had three contacts over the past 18 months in relation to tragic youngster Anthony Ward (8).

The Evening Herald can reveal that the last contact came just last month amid concerns by the boy's family over his welfare.

His father, Mark Ryan, has described as "terrible, (just) terrible" the death of little Anthony who was discovered lying dead in bed just hours before he was due to go back to school.

Anthony was found apparently suffocated in his bedroom with his school clothes freshly pressed by his side and his school bag in the hallway.

He had been scheduled to start second class in Newtownshandrum national school yesterday.

His mother, Diane Ward (43), is being treated in Cork University Hospital after being left traumatised by her son's death.

A full post-mortem examination was under way this morning.

Gardai do not believe the death was due to natural causes.

The results of the post-mortem examination will take at least two weeks to be processed.


In a statement, the Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed to the Herald that it has now ordered a review in light of the tragedy.

"The HSE South has been notified of the tragic death of a child in Charleville, Co Cork. This matter is currently under investigation by the gardai," a spokesperson said.

"The HSE has committed to a comprehensive review of the involvement of HSE services with the family."

The HSE declined to comment further while the garda probe was ongoing.

Fianna Fail Health spokesman Billy Kelleher TD welcomed the review but said that detailed answers now needed to be provided.

Prayers were said for Anthony at Masses in Charleville this morning with some members of the congregation becoming visibly upset.

Anthony was found in the bedroom of his Harrison's Court home at 9.30am yesterday with gardai last night describing it as "a tragic incident".

The boy -- who only celebrated his eighth birthday three weeks ago -- had been due to start second class in Newtownshandrum national school yesterday.