A family, community, school and town was left in a state of great shock and sadness over the weekend as news broke that a little girl aged just five had been killed in Portlaoise.
Maria Louise Greene’s life was cut brutally short in the spring sunshine near her home at St Brigid’s Place last Saturday (March 15) after gardaí confirmed that she was struck by a van.
Gardaí and the emergency services rushed to the scene at around 12.20pm but the girl was removed to Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise where she was pronounced dead. The scene was preserved and a forensic collision investigation to be carried out however the police are so far treating the death as an accident.
Her loss is devastating to her broken hearted family who today, Tuesday (March 18), layed Maria to rest. Beloved daughter of Stephen and Amanda (nee McGinley) and dear sister of Stephen she is deeply regretted by her heartbroken and devoted parents, grandparents Denis and Mary McGinley and Noel and Josephine Greene, extened family, neighbours, relatives and many friends.
Just last Thursday, Maria’s class celebrated the opening of the new Gaelscoil Phortlaoise school building. School principal Domnic Ó Braonáin paid tribute
“It was with deep sadness that we learned of the tragic death of Maria, one of our Junior Infant pupils. Maria was a beautiful and friendly child who always had a smile on her face.
“This is an extremely difficult time for her family, friends, neighbours and all of the Gaelscoil community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Green and McGinley families at this present time,” he said.
Mr Ó Braonáin said the school has implemented its Critical Incident Management plan and has support from the National Educational Psychological Service. A meeting was held in the school last Saturday where a psychologist spoke with parents.
“The school has been open to parents to support them and offer them guidance. We would ask you to respect our privacy at this time,” said the principal in a statement.
Meanwhile, Portlaoise’s parish priest Msgr John Byrne extended his condolences and spoke of the loss felt by all.
“It has had a devastating effect on the whole community of Portlaoise, and St Brigid’s in particular. It’s such a great tragedy. Very little can be said really.
“I would like to send my sympathy to her parents, relatives and friends. It has had a huge grieving effect on the community.
“It’s an occasion where it is very hard to find the right words,” said Msgr Byrne.
Ar dheis Dé da hanam dílis.