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Tragic Sean lived life with 'great dignity and courage', funeral told


Sean's coffin is carried into the chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium

Sean's coffin is carried into the chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium

Sean's coffin is carried into the chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium

Tributes have been paid at the funeral of a young boy who was severely brain damaged when he fell into a pond 11 years ago.

Sean Ross Houlihan McGowan was 21 months old when he fell into a pond in Ranelagh Park in Dublin while on an outing with Miss Carr Children's Home in 2007.

The toddler was resuscitated by a passing doctor, but he was left permanently brain damaged and suffered from seizures, blindness and heart attacks.


He died at the LauraLynn Children's Hospice with his parents by his side.

Mourners at the committal service at the Garden Chapel at Mount Jerome Crematorium yesterday were told that Sean lived life with "great dignity".

"Despite the great health challenges that he lived with all his life, he lived his life with great dignity, courage and fortitude," said Chaplain Thomas Begley. "Every life has a purpose, every life has a meaning, and Sean lived his knowing that he was loved deeply by his mam, Rose, and John, his dad, and by all the staff and his family."

Gratitude was expressed to Crumlin Children's Hospital, where Sean spent some of his life, and also the LauraLynn Children's Hospice.

He added that staff not only cared for him, but loved him and "accepted him as he was".

To conclude the ceremony, tribute was paid to Sean's heartbroken family.

"Sean is now with the angels and the saints," he added.

"We pray for peace for Sean's parents, his sister Lauren and all their family and friends."

In The Arms Of An Angel was performed at the end of the service and Birdy's Keeping Your Head Up played as the curtains fell across the chapel stage.

Bubbles were offered to mourners leaving the chapel as an uplifting token towards Sean's life.

A family member said Sean's parents, John and Rose, were devastated by the loss but said it would be a relief for Sean who had been in pain in recent months.


"In the past three years the epileptic fits became a massive issue and there were issues surrounding his heart," he said.

"He was left in a vegetative state and severely brain damaged. He couldn't eat or chew. He had about six or seven heart attacks in his life.

"There is a degree of relief that he isn't in pain, but there is devastation [for his parents] at the loss of their child.

"The challenge is in the next few months - in piecing together their lives."