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30th Mar 2019

‘She always put us first’: Hundred of mourners turn out for Marie Downey and son Darragh

The Limerick woman and her newborn son were laid to rest today.

Anna O'Rourke

The funeral has taken place of Marie Downey and her newborn son Darragh who died this week.

The new mum perished after a fall in a private room at Cork University Maternity Hospital on Monday morning.

Darragh, who was critically injured in the incident, lost his fight for life the following evening.

Speaking the their funeral mass today in Ballyagran in Co Limerick, Marie’s husband Kieran remembered her as “a beautiful person, both inside and out.”

“She had a heart of gold. She always put us first,” he told the hundreds of mourners who packed the church.

“Herself and Darragh are our special angels now.

“Our first dance at our wedding was to “We Have Only Just Begun’ – and we had only just begun.

“We love you, Darragh and Marie.”

Among the gifts at the mass today were teddies, symbolising the bond between Darragh and his older brothers James and Seán and a photo of the boys meeting the newborn.

Ms Downey was laid to rest at Castletown Cemetery with Darragh in her arms.

The Minister for Health this week announced an independent review into the deaths, which were described by the hospital as a “tragic occurrence”.

It emerged this week that there were just three midwives caring for 31 new mothers at the time of the incident.

Midwives at the hospital had repeatedly complained about staffing levels, the Irish Times reported.

As well as staff, the review will look at why Ms Downey, an epilepsy sufferer, was put in a single room and whether the cot sides on her bed, which are used to keep a patient from falling out, were raised at the time of her fall.