Heartbreak for families as two young Belfast boys die in separate tragedies
Two Belfast communities have been left in shock after the deaths of two children in separate tragedies.
A 13-year-old boy, named locally as Eoin Hamill, was knocked down and killed in a road traffic collision on the Springfield Road in the west of the city yesterday afternoon.
And in a separate tragic incident, an 11-year-old boy, Cillian Draine, was found dead at his home in north Belfast on Thursday. His death is not being treated as suspicious.
Yesterday’s fatal accident happened close to a petrol station where the Whiterock Road joins the Springfield Road.
Eoin, described as a talented boxer, is understood to have been riding a bicycle at the time.
A man was arrested in the wake of the incident.
Eoin was taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) after crews were called to the scene at 4.35pm.
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The road was closed for several hours at the top of the Whiterock Road and at the top of the Monagh Bypass with a large police presence.
Diversions were put in place and the PSNI advised motorists to avoid the area and seek an alternative route.
A spokesperson for the NIAS said: “The NIAS received a 999 call at 4.35pm on Friday following reports of a road traffic incident on Springfield Road involving a vehicle and child.
“NIAS dispatched a rapid response paramedic and an emergency crew to the scene.
“The HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) team was also tasked to the incident.
“Following assessment and initial treatment at the scene, the patient was transported to the nearby Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.”
Inspector David McBride said: "I am appealing to anyone who was in the Springfield Road area between 4.15pm and 4.45pm and who witnessed this collision, or who may have captured dash cam footage, to get in touch as soon as possible.
"Please contact us on 101.
"A man has been arrested and is currently assisting with our enquiries."
Eoin Hamill, a second-year pupil at Colaiste Feirste, had been a member of the Gleann Amateur Boxing Club.
SDLP West Belfast representative Paul Doherty tweeted: “This is the worst nightmare for any parent.
“I know that this community will rally around them at this awful time and provide them with every support they may need.”
Sinn Fein councillor Micheal Donnelly said the young boy was an established boxer with Gleann ABC and had represented his county in the sport.
He said the community was “totally numb”.
Tributes were also paid by the Belfast Boxers Facebook page.
It said: “Heartbreaking news hearing of the death of young Eoin Hamill of Gleann boxing club. Just before Christmas we photographed this young boxer fighting for Antrim against Kildare in Belfast. Spoke to his grandad after the fight saying how well the young lad had done in winning the bout.
“Sad, sad news for everyone involved in boxing. Condolences to all his family, boxing coaches and all his wee friends at this terrible time.
“God bless and rest easy young Eoin.”
Across the city, the family of Cillian Draine were left grief-stricken after the schoolboy died suddenly at his home in Salisbury Avenue in north Belfast.
He had been a pupil at St Therese of Lisieux school on the city’s Antrim Road.
Police said Cillian’s death was ‘not suspicious’.
A spokesman for the NIAS said they had been called to the incident at Salisbury Avenue just before 1pm on Thursday.
The PSNI said: “Police received a report of a sudden death of an 11-year-old boy in the Salisbury Avenue area of north Belfast on Thursday. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”
The family asked for privacy as they mourn their loss.