Wednesday, July 28, 2021

By David Young, PA

A north Belfast community is in shock and numb after a murder investigation was launched following the death of a young child, the MP for the area has said.

A woman has been arrested following the incident involving two young children in the Ardoyne area of the city on Tuesday evening.

Ambulance crews had earlier taken the two children to hospital following what is understood to have been a domestic stabbing incident in Brompton Park.

Police later confirmed that a child had died.

A second child is being treated for injuries in hospital.

‘Numbness’

Sinn Féin North Belfast MP John Finucane said the area where the tragedy occurred is a very tight-knit community.

He told the BBC: “Houses are very close to each other, neighbours are very close to each other.

“I think as the area started to try to get to grips with what was unfolding before them, I think shock and a certain sense of numbness just befell everybody.

“I think it’s always very difficult in these circumstances, when we’re dealing with ages so young.”

Mr Finucane added: “We have to be mindful that the police have arrested one person, that there’s a murder investigation that has commenced.

“I would like to take another opportunity just to urge people to be very cautious on social media, not just with the words that they say but also with any videos that people are thinking of sharing.

“I would urge people not to do that; not only would it add to the distress of families who are dealing with a horrific situation, I think people just need to be mindful and sensitive.

“It’s so difficult to comprehend. I think everybody who is waking up to this news this morning or was watching or listening to this unfold, when we’re dealing with somebody so young, it compounds the hurt.

“Our thoughts are, obviously, hoping to be very positive for the other child who’s critical. But, again, we just need to allow the authorities to come in and do their process and carry out their investigation.”

Police statement

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman said: “Police have commenced a murder investigation following the death of a child in the Brompton Park area of north Belfast and made one arrest in relation to this.”

“The investigation is at an early stage and further information will be provided in due course.”

SDLP deputy leader and North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon said the local community was in shock.

“It is important that the PSNI are given the space and full co-operation to fully investigate this terrible incident,” she said.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service received a 999 call at 8.16pm on Tuesday.

A rapid response paramedic and two emergency crews attended.

People Before Profit councillor Fiona Ferguson said the news was “truly devastating”.

“A wave of shock began in Brompton Park last night and spread out across north Belfast,” she said.

“After something so shocking, community solidarity, community support, rallying around each other is going to be absolutely paramount.”

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