Community rallies around family of child who died in choking tragedy in Skibbereen

Community Rallies Around Family Of Child Who Died In Choking Tragedy In Skibbereen Community Rallies Around Family Of Child Who Died In Choking Tragedy In Skibbereen
The toddler's remains were taken to Cork University Hospital where a post-mortem examination was due to be carried out.
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Olivia Kelleher

Locals in Skibbereen, Co Cork have vowed to offer every support available to the family of a two-year-old boy who died after a piece of fruit became lodged in his windpipe on Wednesday evening.

Gardaí confirmed emergency services attended a home in the town shortly after 9pm on Wednesday following a choking incident. The child has been named locally as Joshua Odonker.

The Coroner for West Cork was notified and arrangements were made for a post-mortem examination at Cork University Hospital (CUH). Gardaí said the incident is being treated as a "tragic accident" and foul play is not suspected.

"Owing to the tragic nature of the incident no further information is available," gardaí added.

It is understood the child, whose parents are from Ghana, was eating a grape when it became lodged in his windpipe. Despite the efforts of paramedics, the toddler was pronounced dead at the scene.


An inquest in relation to the child's death is expected to be held later this year.

Independent Councillor Karen Coakley, who is a former mayor of Skibbereen, said there was a sense of "numbness" locally following the tragedy.

"I heard it yesterday morning and nobody seemed to know who it was. Sometimes when you don't know who it is it is almost as if it hasn't happened.

"Where it happened is near where I am living. Supposedly the family moved to town over the last couple of months. They are originally from Ghana," Cllr Coakley said.

"It is almost sadder because if they just moved to town they don't really have a network of support just yet or family support. Supporting them is all you can do.

"People are just so numb because it is such a cute age when a child is between two and three. It is just so tragic. A simple, simple little accident. It is just heartbreaking," she added.

Cllr Coakley says the community plans to do everything in its power to assist the bereaved family.

"You don't have to be a parent to feel this. It is just heartbreaking. It is just so traumatic. We will do whatever we can."

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