A TEDDY bear adorned the small white coffin bearing the remains of two year-old Robert Kelly, as he was laid to rest in the city yesterday.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral Mass of the young boy, who died tragically from a viral infection, in the Holy Family church in Southill
The two-year-old’s body was discovered in an apartment on Parnell Street in the city on Saturday, with a post mortem revealing he had died from a viral infection which had travelled to his heart and brain. He was found dead by his uncle Damien who tried to wake him after his afternoon nap.
While gardai are not treating the death as suspicious, relatives said some people on social media sites left ‘vile’ and ‘disgusting’ messages, including referring to the Kelly family as “scumbags”.
This week, RTE broadcaster Ryan Tubridy and the young boy’s grand-uncle, Anthony Kelly, brother of the late councillor Michael Kelly, hit out at those who were abusing the family online.
“You have to leave things be investigated and checked out, but everyone jumped to a terrible conclusion. Not everyone, the minority,” said Anthony.
“The majority offered help and support to the family that was second to none, but the minority - they just shouldn’t be saying those things and should be ashamed of themselves. If we weren’t Kellys, it wouldn’t have occurred. Our family know that. It would have been treated an awful lot different,” he said on Limerick’s Live 95FM.
Speaking on his radio show on 2FM, Tubridy said that the family were already “going through the horrors of hell” without this abuse adding to their distress.
Speaking during the Mass of the angels, Anthony thanked many people who assisted their family during this difficult time, and said three families have been affected by this tragic loss - the Kellys, Kirwans, and Feehans.
The parish priest, Fr Pat Hogan, said in Robert’s two years and two months on this earth he changed the lives of many people in such a short period of time.
In his homily, Fr Hogan noted the plight of many less fortunate children in war torn countries around the world, and said that was not the same for young Robert, who was surrounded by love.
“Our world can be so hard and difficult for so many children. Children were taken hostage in Paris last week. Children are legitimate targets in the war in Syria. Children were kidnapped in their hundreds in parts of Africa and never seen again. Children are trained as soldiers, trained to be suicide bombers. In the history of our own country, we know that many, many children were given very difficult lives. And it continues...but that was not true for Robert Kelly. He knew that he was deeply loved by his dad, with whom he lived, and that he was deeply, deeply loved by his mum Lisa.”
The boy’s father Robert Kelly, 21, who was described during the Mass as a “miracle baby” in Crumlin as he wasn’t expected to survive, said his late son was “a good lad. He was perfect.”
Fr Hogan noted that Robert senior’s life was not about himself, but about his son and he gave him all he had to give.
Young Robert was buried alongside his granduncles Michael and Damien. “We didn’t want him on his own, we wanted his grand-uncles to look after him in the grave,” said Derek Kelly, another grand-uncle.