Young daughter found mother who ‘went for a nap and never woke up’

Adam Cullen

A small rural community is in shock and mourning the sudden death of a mother who was found dead by her six-year-old daughter.

Anita Atkinson (33), from The Ballagh, Co Wexford, was discovered by her daughter Megan yesterday evening at their home.

It is understood that young schoolgirl raised the alarm with relatives, who share the home above a family owned pub, when she could not wake up her mum.

The tragic mother had reportedly felt unwell for a number of days but had no major health complaints.

"She went for a nap yesterday afternoon and never woke up,” a source close to the family said.

Ms Atkinson and her family are well known in the local area.

She lived above the popular family pub, The Sawdust Inn, in the village of The Ballagh, with parents Tommy and Teresa and her sisters.

Parish priest Fr Dermot Gahan has said the family are "utterly devastated" by the news.

"I spoke with them today they are in total shock,” he said.

"It's a tragic time for them. The whole community is in mourning.

"She was a friendly, quiet girl who was well liked in the village," he added.

Fr Gahan said that Ms Atkison's death has been described as sudden with no indication of ill health being reported.

"I believe she visited the doctor last week for minor complaints, but she had no serious health problems," he said.

Her remains were taken to Wexford General Hospital last night where a post-mortem examination took place earlier today.

Her death is the second tragedy to rock the small GAA stronghold in recent days after the tragic death of 14-year-old Conor Byrne last week.

Conor, who was from neighbouring village Oulart, died when the car he was travelling in collided with a tractor last Wednesday.

The talented hurler who played with Oulart-The Ballagh was laid to rest last Sunday.

Local Councillor John O'Rourke has said the region has experienced a severe bashing in recent weeks.

"There has been a terrible cloud of tragedy surrounding the Enniscorthy district lately,” he said.

“Just this afternoon another very young man with a very young family passed away after a long battle with various illnesses.”

Mr O'Rourke stressed that a number of services are available to help people cope with tragedy in the area.

"I urge people to use these services and to talk about how they are feeling,” he added.