Irish Examiner

A memorial card reads: Sleep now little angel

15 January 2005
By Claire O'Sullivan, Midleton

EVERY hour at least a couple of cars slow down, pull up and a little offering is left at the impromptu grotto that has appeared near Inch strand since Robert Holohan’s body was found.
Rain-sodden daffodils, multi-coloured carnations, Mass cards, a lantern, candles and teddy bears mark the junction 300 yards from where his 11-year-old body was dumped down a gully.

Ten-year-old Shauna and five-year-old Craig Condon, from nearby Ballinacurra, asked their mother to drive them to Inch so they could place a teddy bear and a toy truck near the memorial site. “We wanted to leave something there for the little boy, Robert. We think it is very sad. I know one of his cousins,” said Shauna.

Memorial cards attached to flowers read: ‘sleep now little angel’ and ‘I hope you are at peace’.

Passersby smiled sadly as they saw one particular message which read ‘God must have needed another little hurler in heaven. It is so unfair’.

“This site has now become a point where locals can remember Robert and express their empathy with the Holohan family,” one local said. “People want to do something but just don’t know what to make of what has happened in the past 10 or 11 days.”

Some have turned to the Church for solace and for answers.

“People are coming into the church a lot more than usual in the past week. There are mothers and children going in to light candles and quite a few groups of young girls from the local high school have gone in to pray at break time. We would not normally see that,” said Fr Billy O’Donovan.

“I was in and out of the church yesterday and at one stage I was gone for over an hour but some of the people praying were still there when I returned.”

Robert’s body was released to his family yesterday and Fr O’Donovan appealed for them to be allowed “private family time”.

His funeral will take place at 3pm today at Midleton’s Holy Rosary Church, with burial in the adjoining cemetery.

Preparations were underway in the town yesterday to close shops for a period today in honour of the hurling-mad primary school pupil who was found dead eight days after he disappeared.

GAA fixtures have been cancelled in the town, as have social events and a planned wedding fair at Water Rock House.

“Everyone is so upset. The town has just been depressed, whereas it would normally be full of hustle and bustle on a Friday. An awful lot of my customers have been coming in to buy ‘little angel’ Mass cards for Robert. It’s all anybody is talking about,” said Carmel O’Leary, who works in Hurley’s Newsagents.

The urgency in tracking down Robert’s killer was also preying on people’s minds, according to Mary Power, who works in a gift shop on Main Street.

“I keep on thinking that it could be somebody passing me on the street. We don’t know who it is and all this talk about it being someone local is terrifying,” she said. Her question hangs in the air: “Who could want to do this?”

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