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Tragic death Baby Mia O'Connell killed in attack by family dog was found by aunt checking on her

Locals tell of shock after death of little Mia O’Connell, aged three months

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Garda forensic officers at the house in Clashmore, Co Waterford, where the baby girl died. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Garda forensic officers at the house in Clashmore, Co Waterford, where the baby girl died. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Gardaí at the scene

Gardaí at the scene

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Garda forensic officers at the house in Clashmore, Co Waterford, where the baby girl died. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

The three-month-old baby girl tragically killed following an attack by a dog was discovered by her aunt who went to check on her sleeping.

The incident happened in the early hours of yesterday morning in the small village of Clashmore, west Waterford.

The little girl, named locally as Mia O’Connell, was asleep upstairs in the bedroom of the house when her aunt, who was visiting the home, found her badly injured.

Mia’s mother Ella Wood, and grandparents Noirin O’Connell and Barry Dillon were all downstairs when it is understood the family pet, a terrier cross, went into the room in which the baby was sleeping.

The baby’s father, Rhys O’Connell was not in the house at the time.

The baby was treated by gardaí and paramedics at the scene before being rushed to Cork University Hospital.

She was later pronounced dead from her injuries, shortly after 3am.

It is understood the family are originally from Youghal, six kilometres away across the Cork border.

A forensic examination of the house took place yesterday after members of the Garda technical bureau arrived at the scene.

A post-mortem examination is due today.

Locals in the area have expressed their shock and sadness after the news spread through the small town.

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Neighbours said they were first alerted to the tragedy when they saw the blue flashing lights of the emergency services.

“It’s a shocking thing. We feel for the family,” said one local resident.

Another resident said she had just seen the grandmother in the village with the baby and the dog on Sunday.

Justice Minister Heather Humphreys said yesterday her thoughts were with the family.

“This is an absolutely awful situation, to think that your little baby’s life has been lost in such terrible, terrible circumstances,” she said.

Independent councillor Séamus O’Donnell, from Old Parish in Dungarvan, said the whole community had been left reeling by the tragedy.

“Clashmore is a very close-knit, rural town, it’s a lovely place,” he told the Sunday World. “The whole of west Waterford is shocked this morning.”

Mayor of Waterford Damien Geoghegan said the town is “devastated” by the news.

“People are really upset to hear such a small, innocent child lost its (sic) life in such tragic circumstances.”

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