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Touching tribute Balloons released in memory of tragic Mason O'Connell (4) in Limerick

A fundraising appeal to help the family of Mason, described as a “lovely, bright and happy little chap,” has almost doubled its fundraising target of €5,000.

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Mason O'Connell

Mason O'Connell

Mason O'Connell

A devastated Co Limerick community gathered in a small park yesterday to release balloons in memory of a four-year-old local boy, Mason O Connell, who died at his home last Saturday.

Mason passed away after sustaining fatal head injuries in Rathbane, Co Limerick. Gardai are investigating if the injuries are consistent with a fall from a bunk bed and say a post-mortem, due to be carried out either today or Friday, will determine the cause of the boy’s death.

The youngster was rushed to hospital in Limerick and Cork before being brought to Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin, where he sadly passed away on Tuesday.

Local councillor Seán Hartigan said family, friends and neighbours had gathered in Scanlon Park near where the boy’s mother lives in Castleconnell, to release balloons.

Cllr Hartigan did not attend the balloon release but said anybody who lives in the estate would have showed their support.

“It’s a great community,” Cllr Hartigan said. “It’s a very settled community and people are very good to each other there and look out for each other.”

Meanwhile, a fundraising appeal to help the family of Mason, described as a “lovely, bright and happy little chap,” has almost doubled its fundraising target of €5,000.

The GoFundMe page has seen more than €9,000 raised to give Mason "the send off he deserves".

The community of Castleconnell, just outside Limerick city where his family is from, is still reeling from the tragedy, Cllr Hartigan has said.

“You would have seen him out and about with his parents and grandparents and uncles around the village,” he revealed.

“I know the mother’s family and they’re all lovely people and well respected in the Castleconnell community.

“Obviously, everybody is heartbroken, the family is heartbroken and the wider Castleconnell and Limerick community is heartbroken for them.

“People would have known Mason to see as he went past with his family. He was a lovely, bright, happy little chap who everybody was mad about.

“Hardly a day would go by when I wouldn’t stop and talk to one of the family. I’d cycle around every day and meet lots of people connected with Mason. He had a very wide family and there would not be many people in Castleconnell that wouldn’t know some relation of Mason’s.

“It's absolutely, completely tragic,” he added. “There are tears being shed every place.

“The fundraiser is by people that are connected with the family and anything that can be done to help them in this situation I'm sure would be appreciated.”

The GoFundMe page states: “As a lot of you may know, Mason has battled between Cork Hospital and Temple Street since Saturday when he received a life threatening injury due to a fall. Mason has since unfortunately lost his battle at the young age of four.

“We are helping to raise money to give him the send off he deserves. Times are so tough for people but nothing compares to what his family are going through. Let's all come together and make things that little bit easier for them. Every little helps.”

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