Woman arrested over death of Matthew Healy (6) yet to be questioned

Boy’s remains found in back seat of car at Rathmoylan Cove in Waterford in the early hours of Friday morning

Gardaí investigating the death of six-year-old Matthew Healy in Co Waterford are yet to interview the suspect in the case as she has been undergoing medical treatment since being arrested at the scene.

The woman, who is in her late 30s, has been remained in the custody of the Garda since her arrest, though the 24-hour period she can be questioned for has yet to commence.

Interviews, during which she will be questioned by detectives about the boy’s death, will only commence when she is deemed well enough.

The woman was detained shortly after Matthew’s remains were discovered in a car at Rathmoylan Cove near Dunmore East in the early hours of Friday. She immediately underwent mental and physical health checks when taken into custody and treatment has continued since then.


While gardaí have said they are “investigating all of the circumstances surrounding the death” of Matthew, all the resources of a homicide inquiry have been committed to the case. The results of the postmortem have not been released, for operational reasons. And while the postmortem was inconclusive, it is suspected Matthew died from suffocation.

The arrested woman was detained under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984, which allows for her to be questioned for up to 24 hours. That period can be punctuated with breaks for rest or medical checks and treatment.

Gardaí have searched at least one address in Waterford this weekend and also carried out a technical examination there in a bid to find any evidence that might shed light on the case. Gardaí were also trying to piece together Matthew’s last movements and those of the arrested woman.

Matthew’s remains were found in the back seat of the car, and efforts by paramedics to revive him at the scene were not successful. Gardaí are trying to establish if the arrested woman was in the sea at some point before she went to local houses to raise the alarm.

The emergency services received calls from local people just after midnight, with paramedics and gardaí rushing to the secluded location. It is close to the sea at Dunmore East, almost 20km from Waterford, where Matthew lived with his family on the outskirts of the city.

When the emergency services arrived they located the woman and arrested her as efforts to revive Matthew continued. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his remains taken to University Hospital Waterford for the postmortem.

Matthew attended senior infants at Faithlegg National School, and played for the under-seven squad of local soccer club, Park Rangers AFC.

Dozens of people attended a vigil at Waterford’s Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Saturday night for Matthew. Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, organised the vigil at the Cathedral on Barronstrand Street.

Matthew’s football club Park Rangers, based in the Suir estuary community of Cheekpoint, said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that we learned about the tragic passing of one of our players this week. Matthew was a member of our under-seven squad. He will be sadly missed by team-mates and coaches. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this unimaginably difficult time.”

Faithlegg Primary School Principal Kieran O’Sullivan and staff said in a statement: “We learned on Friday morning of a tragic incident involving a beloved member of our school community. The gardaí are currently involved. This is a terrible tragedy for the families, our school and our community.

“Our school has implemented its Critical Incident Plan and NEPS (National Educational Psychological Service) psychologists are supporting our school. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved and affected by this tragedy.”

A NEPS psychologist was present at the school on Friday, advising the school principal and staff on how they could best support pupils there.

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD extended her “very sincere sympathy to the family” of Matthew and “the school community”.

“I know Matthew was a much loved and treasured member of the school community and will be greatly greatly missed by his fellow pupils, by the staff, board of management and everyone within the school community,” Ms Foley said.

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Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times