Eight-year-old Ukrainian stabbing victim undergoes surgery as gardaí wait to interview mother

Girl remains in serious condition after incident in emergency accommodation for refugees

An eight-year-old girl who suffered serious injuries in a stabbing attack has undergone surgery aimed at stabilising her condition.

The child, a Ukrainian refugee who recently fled to Ireland with her mother following the Russian invasion, was repeatedly stabbed in an attack in her home in Co Clare.

She remains in an extremely serious condition. On Wednesday, she was transferred with a Garda escort from University Hospital Limerick to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin where she underwent surgery. Her condition has improved somewhat but doctors remain highly concerned about her prognosis.

The child’s mother, who is aged in her 40s, was found at the scene in an unconscious state but with no outward signs of injury. She has yet to speak to gardaí and is currently receiving treatment at Limerick hospital. Gardaí say she remains in a serious condition.

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Gardaí say they are “keeping an open mind” in their investigation.

“Everything will depend on what the woman and the girl tell us when hopefully they are well enough to speak,” said one source with knowledge of the investigation.

Gardaí have appealed for anyone with information to contact the investigation team, the Garda confidential line or any Garda station. They are also awaiting the results of toxicology tests that were carried out on the mother and child.

Both were discovered on Tuesday morning at a property in Clarecastle just outside Ennis where Clare Civil Defence has been providing emergency accommodation for people displaced by the war in Ukraine. Clare Civil Defence personnel and an interpreter were also called to assist gardaí at the scene on Tuesday morning.

The house, which the mother and child had only recently moved into, has been sealed off and other people staying there have been brought to other accommodation. The property underwent an examination by members of the Divisional Scenes of Crime Unit on Tuesday and it is expected to remain sealed off on Thursday as the evidence-gathering phase of the inquiry continues.

As part of their investigations, gardaí have started speaking to other residents of the property. So far, none have reported seeing anyone suspicious enter or exit the property. About a dozen refugees from Ukraine had been staying at the property.

The girl had just been enrolled in the local primary school and had been attending classes there.

An incident room has been established at Ennis Garda station and a senior investigating officer has been appointed to oversee the case.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime Correspondent of The Irish Times