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'brighten the sky' Vigil to be held for boy (12) killed in Limerick crash

The young boy died after the car he was driving was involved in a crash

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A vigil is set to be held for 12-year-old Wiktor Chojecki who died in a car crash on early Friday morning.

The vigil will be held at The Square, Newcastle West, at 3pm on Sunday, February 13th.

Those attending are asked to "bring a balloon or two" as they aim to "brighten up the sky for Wiktor".

"As a member of the Polish community in Newcastle West it saddens me to say that one of our good friends has lost their son in a car accident," family friend, and organiser Dominika Hogan said.

“To show support to Wiktor's family and as a mark of respect I would like to invite everyone to let off balloons in memory Of Wiktor.”

The young boy was killed when the car he was driving collided with a truck just before 2am yesterday.

The incident occurred 20 minutes from his home on the N21 at Rineroe near Adare.

Gardaí believe the boy had taken the car, a Nissan Qashqai, earlier in the night while other family members were asleep.

While the driver of the truck, a man in his 40s, was treated for shock at the scene, he was not injured and did not require hospital treatment.

Limerick community leaders and locals have expressed shock at the child’s death.

The boy's family are not originally from Limerick but had moved to the Newcastle West area a number of years ago.

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Wiktor, who recently begun attending secondary school, was due to celebrate his 13th birthday in the coming weeks.

His school principal Seán Lane said there is a deep sense of “sorrow and sadness” right across the school community in Scoil Mhuire, especially among his classmates in First Year.

“It’s very shocking, we had to break the news to the students this morning. Our teachers had to be briefed and then they went on to break the news to the students. It was very shocking for students and the outpouring of emotion that came with it.”

“We then went on to identify the students particularly affected by it and offer the support that was required,” he added.

“It’s a huge loss to us all and we want to send our condolences to the family and we offer them any support the school can provide in these difficult times."

Pat O’Sullivan, Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in Limerick, said he would be attending Sunday’s vigil and that he would offer any assistance he could to the boy’s family.

Mr O’Sullivan said the Ambassador of Poland to Ireland, Anna Sochanska, was actually in Limerick on Friday, on a planned visit, and that she offered her condolences and sympathies to the boy’s family.

Mr O’Sullivan said he had been in contact with the Polish Embassy and that it would offer all and any consular assistance to the boy’s family.

“I will be attending the vigil, I don’t know the family, but there are somewhere between 7,000-10,000 Polish people living in the Limerick region, approximately 140,000 nationally,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

“Our duties include looking after certain legal issues and also helping and supporting industry and commerce between Limerick and Clare and Poland, and also dealing with some of the more human and social issues that might arise with our Polish community living here.

“We do everything from consultancy and directing them in the right way from what agencies to deal with. The Polish community are an asset to our community, they have a great work ethic and also provide some of the social fabric to our community in terms of Polish art exhibitions, festivals, and the likes, and they are very much involved and in sporting organisations and sporting clubs.”

Mr O’Sullivan said the boy’s death was “a tragic event and I offer my sympathy and support to the family”.

“We’re not familiar with the background to it or how it occurred, but at the end of the day it is just so tragic and a loss of life at such a young age is so sad for his family.”

Monsignor Daniel Neenan, who attended the scene to bless the boy’s body said he found the scene “very harrowing” as he tried to comfort his parents, Ewa and Bartosz.

“I got a call around 4am to say that there was a fatal accident on the outskirts of Adare and could I attend,” Msgr Neenan said.

“Of course, I went straight away, and when I arrived they warned me that the person was very young.

“I anointed him and said some prayers over him. He’s just a child."

“It was obviously terribly harrowing for everybody. The guards and emergency responders are accustomed to something like this, but they were all just in shock,” he said.

“There was such terrible sadness around the place.

“At the end, that young mother who had just lost her son, before she left, she went around and personally thanked people for their kindness. I was deeply, deeply touched by that.”

“To see a man and woman arrive and have to face the body of their dead 12-year-old son, it was harrowing,” she said.

“We gave them some moments of privacy and then I went over. I spoke to them and we prayed – I invited them to pray in Polish as well.”

“Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this collision to come forward. Any road users who may have camera footage (including dash-cam) and were travelling on the N21 near Adare area at the time of the collision are asked to make this footage available to Gardaí,” said a garda spokesman.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact Newcastlewest Garda Station 069 20650, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.”

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