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'Loving little Antrim girl' Bronagh Kinney (7) died of meningitis in mum's arms

By Cate McCurry

A seven-year-old Co Antrim girl who died in her mother's arms just days after she fell ill has been described as a "loving and caring" child.

Bronagh Kinney from Cushendall died at the Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday morning after she was struck down with meningitis.

The schoolgirl, who was a P4 pupil at Glenann Primary School, has been described as a bubbly and outgoing girl whose death will leave a huge void in the local community.

The popular youngster was rushed to hospital last week after she contracted the disease.

Her heartbroken parents, Shane and Gina and four siblings are being comforted by family and friends as they prepare for her funeral today.

Bronagh was a keen sportsgirl who was part of many groups in the area - all of which paid tribute to her.

Parish priest Fr Luke McWilliams said she was loved by all who knew her.

"She was such a lovely little girl and everyone was so fond of her. She was so helpful to everyone around the school and elsewhere," he said.

"Bronagh was very bubbly, outgoing and very friendly. She was very much looking forward to making her First Holy Communion in a few months.

"Shane and Gina are very upset but they are bearing up well and they are being very well supported by the community, neighbours and friends."

Francis Close, principal of Glenann PS said the entire school has been left deeply shocked and saddened by the death of the "precious pupil".

He said: "She was a loving and caring child, popular with everyone within the school. Her passing will leave a huge void in her family, school and local community.

"We appreciate all the support given to us by our parents, our local community, CCMS (Council for Catholic Maintained Schools) and the Education Authority at this difficult time.

"Bronagh will be sorely missed by her classmates and the whole school community."

Cushendall Camogie Club of which Bronagh was one of their under-eight players said they were "saddened" to hear of her passing.

"We would like to extend our sympathy to the entire Kinney family at this sad time," they said in an online tribute.

The little girl was also junior member of the Glen Youth Club who were among the many groups to express their shock and sadness at her tragic death.

Many GAA clubs across the area also paid tribute to the youngster.

Bronagh was a talented Irish dancer and had been part of the Lir School of Irish Dancing for some 18 months.

The school's teacher, Bronagh McGarry, said her classmates have been left deeply upset.

"Bronagh was the most lovely child and all the children were very fond of her," she said.

"She really took part in the dancing and was a much loved member of the school. She loved Irish dancing and was such a talented, musical little girl and a lovely part of our school."

Sinn Fein councillor Cara McShane said it was an awful tragedy for the family.

"I am heartbroken to hear of the death of Bronagh Kinney who has been taken from her family at just seven-years-old," she said.

She is survived by her parents Shane and Gina and siblings Michael, Clodagh, Liam and Niall.

Her funeral will take place at St Mary's Church, Cushendall at 11am.

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