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Ukrainian child (8) stabbed in Clare is too ill to be interviewed by gardaí

A forensic garda at the scene in Clarecastle on the outskirts of Ennis, Co Clare. Photo: Press 22

Eavan MurrayIndependent.ie

An eight-year-old Ukrainian girl brutally stabbed in refugee accommodation in Co Clare remains in a critical condition and is unfit to be interviewed by gardaí

The child underwent emergency surgery on Tuesday night at Crumlin’s Children’s Hospital, and her condition is described as serious but stable.

Detectives investigating the horrific incident where the girl was stabbed 74 times have identified a suspect, but no arrests have been made.

The girl’s mother, who was found unconscious at the scene, remains in a serious condition at Limerick University Hospital but is expected to survive.

The mother and daughter were discovered injured at their accommodation, which houses Ukrainian refugees in Clarecastle in Ennis, around 8am on Tuesday.

The house, which was recently renovated, is occupied by up to 15 Ukrainians.

It is understood that occupants of the house overheard a commotion and attempted to access a room, were unable to do so.

Growing increasingly concerned, one occupant went outside and looked into the window, where they saw the child grievously injured.

When emergency services arrived minutes later, they were met with a “horrific scene”, a source close to the investigation said.

Emergency services stabilised the child, and she was transferred to Limerick University Hospital.

Due to weather conditions in the south-west on Tuesday, the girl could not be airlifted to Dublin and gardaī provided an escort to Crumlin.

Stunned occupants of the property, including several children, were moved to alternative accommodation locally overnight on Tuesday.

Investigators have spoken to all residents of the house, and it is understood they have identified a suspect and expect to make an arrest.

As part of their enquiries, gardaí have established the movements of the mother and child in the 48 hours leading up to the attack.

Gardaí are also trying to trace who they may have communicated with.

It is understood that the girl had started attending a local primary school weeks ago.

Locals told the Irish Independent that they did not know any of the residents as the house only became occupied in recent weeks after lying derelict for years.

“I have seen a couple of children going in and out. If she is the child I am thinking of, she is a lovely little thing,” said one local woman.

“They are only here for maybe three or four weeks.

“But you wouldn’t see them playing in the front because it’s on the main road.

“There is a large group living there, but nobody would know them.

“I don’t know what to say or even think about what I am hearing. I didn’t realise anything happened until I saw all the guards outside. “There are a lot of elderly people living along this stretch of the road, and this is just the last thing you want to happen. It would make you afraid.

“The poor child. I hope we get good news about her."

Another neighbour said: “I couldn’t tell you how many people are living there, but I have seen several children and a few men coming and going.

“I have never seen any women.

“Nobody locally would really know anyone living there because it is only recently occupied again.

“It has been renovated for a long time. I suspect there are a few families there because the kitchen is at the front, and it’s like a communal kitchen.”

Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Pat Daly described the incident as a tragedy for the girl, her mother, and the local community.

“It is a tragedy. It’s a very sad situation the mother and daughter are in.

“This has been an awful shock for the community here too. We didn’t know those involved as they had been here a couple of weeks.

“We can only wish everyone the best in this most tragic situation,” he said.

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