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A road closure near the scene in Rathmoylan, Co Waterford this morning. Eoghan Dalton/
Dunmore East

Woman arrested after body of six-year-old boy found in Co Waterford

It’s believed the child was in a car while the woman was on the roadway.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 9th 2024, 6:20 PM

A COASTAL COMMUNITY in Co Waterford is in “disbelief” following the discovery of the body of a six-year-old boy near a seaside cove.

The incident occurred in the area of Rathmoylan near Dunmore East at around midnight this morning.

A woman in her 30s was arrested following the discovery and remains detained by gardaí.

It is understood that gardaí were called to the Ballymacaw seaside area where they found the boy and the woman.

It’s believed the child was in a car while the woman was on the roadway.

Garda statement

A garda spokesperson confirmed that the boy was six-years-old and said a post mortem will determine the course of the investigation.

“Gardaí in Waterford are investigating all of the circumstances surrounding the death of a young boy aged six whose body was found in a car at Dunmore East, County Waterford shortly after midnight this morning,” the garda spokesperson said.

“A woman in her late 30s was arrested at the scene and is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at a Garda Station in County Waterford.

“The body of the deceased has been removed to Waterford University Hospital for a post-mortem examination.”

The scene is preserved for forensic and technical examination and the local Coroner and Office of the State Pathologist has been notified.

Local councillor Jim Griffin said the community was struck with disbelief when the news broke this morning.

“This is an rural part of Waterford and would be generally quiet. For people down in the Rathmoylan area it’s a cliff walk and sea swimming all year round, so you wouldn’t be expecting that kind of news,” he told The Journal.

IMG_3571 Local councillor Jim Griffin in Rathmoylan near Dunmore East this morning. Eoghan Dalton / The Journal Eoghan Dalton / The Journal / The Journal

Griffin also paid tribute to emergency services for their response this morning.

“I was an emergency services volunteer for 23 years with the Coast Guard and my thoughts are with the family first and foremost but for the guards and emergency services who attended the scene, your heart would go out to them.

The Sinn Féin councillor said that the wider Dunmore area has been hit by fishing tragedies over the decades, and that the community has a track record of rallying around those affected.

“The community won’t be found wanting here anyway,’ he said.

IMG_3602 Local man Frank O'Neill speaking at today's scene E E

One local man travelled a short distance over to the garda cordon, after the news of the loss of life reminded him of his own family circumstances.

Frank O’Neill’s brother James went missing more than 70 years ago and has never been found.

“I was younger than that child when my brother went missing and I have the grief still. He’s going to be gone 77 years this year without a trace and I’m still [grieving].”

He said he was shocked when he heard the news this morning and thought of the life that the young boy, like his brother James, will not get to live.

It’s startling and very upsetting . . . You don’t know -he could been] a great sportsman in years to come. You don’t know what he could attain in life.

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Alphonsus Cullinan said the the death of any child is an “unimaginable tragedy” and said hearts would go out to “the family and loved ones of the young child during this incredibly difficult time”.

Bishop Cullinan also announced that a prayer vigil will be held at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in Waterford tomorrow evening at 7pm.

He said the vigil will “offer prayers for the grieving family and the wider community affected by this heartbreaking loss”.

“In times of such profound loss, it is important for us to come together in solidarity, compassion, and support for one another,” the bishop said.

“We urge the community to offer their support to those who are grieving and to uphold them in their time of need.”

Hayley Halpin, Niall O'Connor and Eoghan Dalton (in Waterford)