Tyrone schoolboy Ronan Wilson (9) taken by 'hit-and-run' driver, father says as he pays tribute to his 'main man, my hero'
Dean Wilson described his nine-year-old son Ronan as the "main man, my hero" in a tribute to the young boy posted on social media.
Mr Wilson, from Kildress near Cookstown, said the family “will never be the same” following the boy's death.
"I never thought I'd be saying this but I've lost my wee Roro my main man my hero & son, I love him so much, he's been taken from us by a hit and run driver," Mr Wilson wrote.
He said the family will never be the same, that they are struggling to cope and are broken following the death of the boy.
"Roro was the best son any one could ask for 9 years (of) pure pleasure. Rest in peace my son and best friend, love u forever. From Daddy, Mummy, Calum and Amy, and all...family and friends. We love u Ronan."
A man in his 20s has been arrested in connection with Ronan’s death.
Ronan died shortly after being struck in the Atlantic Way area of Bundoran just before 9.30pm on Saturday.
It is understood the schoolboy, who had a passion for Gaelic football, had travelled to the seaside town with his parents and siblings for a short break.
A man in his 20s was arrested by gardaí in Donegal on Sunday afternoon in connection with the suspected hit and run. Officers continue to appeal for information about the collision.
Described as "fun-loving", Ronan played football for the Kildress Wolfe Tones U10 football team.
His brother and sister also play underage football for the club, at U12 and U14.
From a well known business family, his father Dean runs a haulage firm.
Ronan attended St Mary's Primary School, Dunamore, and principal Eileen Ward spoke of the devastation felt by everyone there.
"As a school community we are plunged into grief with the sudden and tragic death of Ronan," she said.
"Ronan was a pupil in primary 6... and his passing will leave a huge void in the school as a whole.
"He was such a happy, caring and likeable boy who we were privileged to have in our lives and our school."
Ms Ward described Ronan as a "good friend" who was "always willing to help others and had a lovely sense of humour and twinkle in his eye".
"How lucky were we to have known Ronan, a beautiful, fun-loving soul, who has been taken from his family and his school far too soon," she said.
The principal added that the school community is thinking of his parents Dean and Emma, his brother Calum and his sister Amy, together with his wider family circle.
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"We are also thinking of all his friends and classmates who will be saddened and shocked by this untimely loss and we will do our best to try and support everyone at this time" she added.
"May Ronan's gentle soul rest in eternal peace."
Prayers were said for Ronan and his family and friends during Mass at St Joseph's Church, Killeenan, on Sunday morning.
Kildress Wolfe Tones chairman Dominic McGurk said people in the area are in a state of shock.
"The whole GAA community in Kildress, we are a big parish, at times like this everybody pulls together and everyone is devastated," he said.
"Everyone is just numb at the minute."
Mr McGurk described Ronan as "football-mad".
"He was a very bubbly lad, a fun-loving lad, as all lads are at that age and had a lot of friends," he said.
"At lunch time or break time he never had the ball out of his hand at school, he was just mad about football."
Mr McGurk said Ronan was a regular face around the club and often attended training with his brother, who plays at under 14 level and sister, who is a member of the girls U12 team.
The chairman added that an U16 girls championship match and senior intermediate championship game against the Moy, both scheduled for early on Sunday, were called off as word of the tragedy filtered through.
"Thanks to the Tyrone County Board for their help and Tyrone Ladies County Board for all their help and assistance," he added.
SDLP assembly member Patsy McGlone said: “The whole community in Kildress and across Tyrone is broken hearted today. The Wilsons are a well known local family and this tragedy has shocked us all."
It was the fourth fatality on the Republic's roads at the weekend.
In Co Kerry, another pedestrian, a man aged in his 20s, was pronounced dead at the scene following a collision involving a taxi around 2am on Sunday at Ballydonohoe, Lisselton, near Ballybunion.
And in Dublin a motorcyclist died following a road collision involving a pedestrian in Dublin at about 2.45am on Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon a passenger, a man in his 30s, died following a collision involving two vehicles at the Clare Stages Rally at Glencolumbkille, Carron, Co. Clare.