The devastated family of a child killed in a Co Down road collision are unable to plan a funeral until her injured mother has recovered sufficiently, their parish priest has said.
Six-year-old Ella Trainor from Hilltown died when the car she was travelling in, along with her mother Susan, was involved in the incident on the Hilltown Road in Newry on Saturday.
Susan Trainor, 42, and a 24-year-old woman were taken to hospital following the collision which took place around 10am.
Father Jarlath Cushenan said Mrs Trainor was likely to remain in hospital until later this week. He said the family was struggling to cope with the loss, and added: “There will be no definite word on a funeral until the mother gets home. That will be a couple of days I suppose...it will not be a prolonged thing I wouldn’t think.”
Primary two pupil Ella and her mum were travelling in a Volkswagen car when it was involved in the collision with a Seat car and a tractor.
An online death notice placed on behalf of the family said Ella was “An Angel in Heaven”.
The schoolgirl’s death comes only days after two-year-old Archie Tafts died when he was crushed by a chest of drawers in his north Antrim home.
Meanwhile, on December 26, seven-year-old Jackson Turner also lost his life in a collision while being driven to his Carrickfergus home by his grandmother.
After the collision on Saturday, the youngster’s mother and another woman were taken to hospital for treatment to their injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.
Principal of St Patrick’s Primary School in Hilltown Una Lawless said: “Ella was a beautiful, bright and bubbly child loved by all her classmates. The entire school community is deeply saddened at this tragic loss.
“We extend our sympathy to her parents and sister and her entire family circle.”
A death notice online said: “Ella Sue, treasured youngest child of Marty and Susan and adored sister of Aoife.
“An Angel in Heaven,” it added.
“Funeral arrangements later. Will always be cherished in the hearts of her loving parents, sister and entire family circle.”
SDLP councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick, who lives a short distance from the scene of the accident, said: “What has happened is very numbing and it leaves you feeling very empty. It is really heartbreaking.
“The other girl [the 24-year-old] involved in the accident had been going to the funeral of her boyfriend’s grandmother.”
Mrs Fitzpatrick, whose daughter is at Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry with Ella’s elder sister Aoife, added: “The community is devastated for the Trainor family.”
South Down SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said: “The untimely death of any individual is always sad, but the death of a child so soon after the Christmas period is particularly poignant.
“My deepest sympathies lie with the parents, family and relatives of this child.”
Sinn Fein councillor Mickey Ruane added: “The death of six year-old Ella Trainor in a collision on the Hightown Road is tragic.
“This devastating news of further loss of life on our roads has cast a dark cloud over the entire local area.
“The support, thoughts and prayers of the local community will be with the Trainor family at this sad time.”
And Independent councillor Jarlath Tinnelly said: “Every parent will know what I mean when I say that I can think of no heavier burden to carry than the death of a child.
“My heart goes out to Marty Trainor and his wife Susan.”
Police are appealing for witnesses to contact them on 101.