The family of a three-month-old who died after she was attacked by a dog at her home in Clashmore, Co Waterford has issued a statement of thanks following a massive outpouring of solidarity in the community since the tragedy occurred on Monday.
In an interview on Deise Today on WLR FM, the infant's grand aunt Dianne Wood said the support received in recent days was of huge comfort to the relatives of the “beautiful” little girl, named locally as Mia O'Connell.
"Everybody has been so good. All the country far and wide with all the prayers and the thoughts," she said.
"From Mia and all the family we just want to say thank you. And to the paramedics who were on the scene and to the Rapid Responders in Youghal who went, a massive thank you. I have no doubt (the emergency services did the best they could)."
Ms Wood said the family would cherish their memories of their "beautiful, beautiful little girl."
"She was always laughing and smiling. She brought joy to her parents. She is going to be so missed," she said.
"It never happens to you. It is always somebody else. To have it hit home and to see the tragedy and the loss on their faces. It is heartbreaking.
"Words can't describe. How do you get over something like this?"
Everything every young mum looks forward to, just taken away
Ms Wood said that Mia's mother was a "first time mum" who doted on her daughter.
"The first smiles and looking forward to the first words and sitting up and everything every young mum looks forward to, just taken away," she said.
"It has shocked the community. This is when the country comes together and you can really feel the warmth."
Mia will be laid to rest today following a private service at a funeral home in Youghal in Co Cork.
She was asleep in a bed upstairs in her terraced home in Clashmore when the dog, a cross between a Labrador and a Jack Russell, attacked her in the early hours of Monday morning.
She was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after 3am on Monday.
A postmortem examination was completed by Assistant State Pathologist, Dr Margaret Bolster, the results of which will not be released for operational reasons.
A file will now be prepared for the County Coroner and an inquest will be held at a later date.
The animal which was involved in the incident has been destroyed.
A family liaison officer has been appointed to support the relatives of the infant at this difficult time.
Mia was born in late February to parents Rhys O’Connell and Ella Wood. The young couple got engaged last New Year’s Eve.
The mother of the child is aged in her 20s and moved to the area relatively recently, while the father is aged 32. The couple are natives of Youghal.
The house where the tragedy occurred was sealed off for a forensic examination by gardaí from the Garda Technical Bureau who travelled to Clashmore on Monday.
It is understood that the family are relatively new to Clashmore.
Appeal for privacy
The child's mother was in the property with her aunt, her partner's mother Noreen and her partner Barry Dillon when they ran upstairs to find Mia seriously injured.
The emergency services were alerted and gardaí performed CPR on Mia before paramedics arrived and rushed her to hospital.
Witness statements will be taken from the adults in the house at the time of the attack for an inquest which will be held in due course.
Neighbours and locals in the small village have expressed shock at the death of the baby girl.
Gardaí have reiterated their appeal for privacy for the grieving family.