Belfast Telegraph

Boy (5) killed as he played on his bike 'had a smile that would light up any room'

By David Whelan

A five-year-old boy who was knocked down and killed in an accident in north Belfast had "a smile that could light up any room".

Conor O'Neill had been playing on his bicycle outside his home in the Rosehead area of Ardoyne before 9am yesterday when he was struck by a car.

Police and emergency crews attended the scene and the boy was rushed to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, but died from his injuries afterwards.

Details of how the accident happened are still sketchy but the woman driver of the car involved is believed to be a neighbour of the dead boy's family.

It is thought she had been on her way to work in the Royal Victoria Hospital. She was also taken to hospital following the incident but her condition was not clear.

A child's bicycle could be seen pinned beneath the car involved in the collision.

A neighbour said that the little boy often squeezed in a few minutes of playtime in the street before having to go to the nearby Holy Cross Boys' Primary School.

"He couldn't have been more than a few yards from his front door when it happened," she said.

"I didn't realise what had happened until the ambulance arrived; they took the little boy away very quickly and police closed off the area." Conor had an older brother, who also attends the school, and had been looking forward to attending a cross-community retreat with his class.

Principal of Holy Cross, Kevin McArevey, said that the community had been left devastated.

"The boy concerned was a lovely child," he said.

"He had a radiant smile that could light up any room. This is an awful day for the family, friends, staff and children."

Mr McArevey said the school had implemented its incident plan and would be offering support for children affected by Conor's death.

Sinn Fein councillor Gerry McCabe said the family are well known and respected and the tragedy will be felt by people throughout the community.

Following the accident, local SDLP MLA Alban Maginness called for action from the Roads Service to implement traffic calming measures in the area, which is a relatively new-build housing estate.

"This is a tragedy that will send shock and hurt throughout the community.

"I want to offer my sincere sympathy to the family of the young child who will be going through a harrowing time," he said.

"I have no doubt that the entire community will rally around them at this extremely difficult time.

"The SDLP will meet with Roads Service in the coming days with a view to securing traffic calming measures that will make the area safer for pedestrians, children and road users.

"It is imperative that Roads Service acts quickly on these requests before another tragedy befalls this close-knit community." DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the death had "sent shockwaves through the entire community".

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the young boy at this very difficult time."

Background

Police and emergency crews attended the scene of the accident shortly before 9am yesterday after receiving reports that a young boy had been injured by a car. The young boy had been playing close to his home, shortly before going to school, when he was struck by a car. A medical team worked on him at the scene before he was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph