Northern Ireland

‘Fíanna was a blessing’ – grieving mother pays tribute following death of four-year-old child in Co Derry tragedy

Fíanna Harkin is understood to have died in a ‘freak accident’ on Saturday

Fíanna Harkin (4) smiling for the camera in front of a door.
Fíanna Harkin (4) who died following a freak accident in Draperstown on Saturday evening.

The mother of a four-year-old girl who died in what has been described as a “freak accident” in Co Derry at the weekend, has said her child was “a blessing”.

Fíanna Harkin lost her life following an incident in the Tirruadh Road area of Draperstown on Saturday evening.

The child was taken to Antrim Area Hospital by ambulance after emergency services were alerted, but later died.

Her grieving mother Karen Harkin told The Irish News: “Fíanna was a blessing to us and touched the hearts of so many in our community.

“Her love for Ballinascreen club was second to none.

“She was the senior ladies number one supporter and loved being at their matches and trainings with me.”

Mid Ulster MLA Emma Sheerin, who knows the family, said the child lost her life in “a freak tragic accident”.

She said the tragedy had “stunned” the Ballinascreen community.

“Everyone in the parish are completely gutted,” she said.

“The family are really well known and everyone is just thinking of Karen and Brian and the whole family.

“We are praying they have the strength to get through this, because it’s just not imaginable.”

Fíanna Harkin, who died suddenly on Saturday evening.
Fíanna Harkin, who died suddenly on Saturday evening.

The four-year-old had attended Ballinascreen Early Years Play Group.

In a social media post, the play group said: “Everyone here at Ballinascreen Early Years are totally heartbroken with this tragic news of the passing our pupil Fíanna Harkin.

“She will be forever missed by all the staff and children in preschool class.”

Ballinascreen GAA announced the postponement of its senior and reserve games on Sunday in the wake of the tragedy.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said a post mortem examination was due to be carried out adding enquiries were ongoing.