Community united in grief over sudden loss of young girl in Tallaght sports complex

By Mary Dennehy

PINK roses have been placed on the gates of the Tallaght Sports Complex today as a community numb with shock tries to come to terms with the loss of a nine-year-old girl in the swimming pool yesterday.

Little Michaela Gonda tragically died of a suspected heart attack during a swim session in the Balrothery-based complex after becoming ill in the water shortly after 7pm yesterday.

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The Echo understands that the centre manager dived into the pool immediately after being alerted to the incident and brought Michaela to the poolside, where the manager and a young lifeguard attempted to resusitate her while emergency services were called.

Gardai and three units of Dublin Fire Brigade, including an ambulance and an advanced paramedic van, attended the scene and transferred Michaela to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin – where she was sadly pronouned dead a short time later.

It is understood that the nine-year-old had underlying health issues and that she may have passed away from a suspected heart attack.

Today the community is united in grief over the sudden loss of the young girl in the sports complex, which has played a pivotal role in Tallaght since opening in 1972. 

Local councillor Mick Duff, the Chairperson of the Board of Tallaght Community School, which oversees the sports complex, told Echo.ie: “Everybody is devastated and our sincere sympathies are with Michaela’s parents at this awful time.

“There is a deep sense of shock in the community and among the staff of both Tallaght Community School and the Tallaght Sports Complex.

“The complex is a real community facility and thousands of children have learned how to swim here since 1972.

“We are now making sure that the staff are ok and we will ensure that everybody has the necessary supports.”

According to Cllr Duff the complex is closed today and may not re-open until Monday morning.

Confirming the tragic incident to Echo.ie last night, a Garda spokesperson said: "A nine-year-old girl died tonight [Friday] at a swimming pool in Tallaght.

"She was treated at the scene and was later transferred to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

"She was pronounced dead a short time later."

The Echo understands that Gardai are treating the incident as a sudden death. 

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