The mother of the three-year- old boy who died after he became trapped in a lift in Galway city has called for the investigation to be made public when completed to ensure it can never happen again.
Omolara Alibi, whose son Solomon Soremekun died from crush injuries sustained in the lift shaft of an office building, said yesterday that "Solomon paid the price – I pray and hope it won't happen to any other child".
She issued a statement through her solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell, on the eve of her son’s burial in Galway today.
Mr O'Donnell said that Ms Alibi is still distraught after the accident, which occurred when she was visiting the Department of Social Protection in the Hynes Building, St Augustine Street, on Monday afternoon.
A professional nurse from Nigeria, Ms Alibi has been in Ireland for eight years and had moved to Galway from Dublin in late December with her four Irish-born children, aged between two months and seven years.
Mr O’Donnell said Ms Alibi had described how the family were getting into the lift, with Solomon ahead of his sister, when “the doors snapped shut”.
“She told me that Solomon was inside on his own, and banging and kicking and calling to her to get out, and they were pressing buttons but the doors were not opening,” Mr O’Donnell said.
“His sister ran down to the ground floor to press a button to try and open the lift, unsuccessfully,” he said.
Solomon was located in the lift shaft by fire brigade and ambulance staff, but had sustained fatal crush injuries. It took 40 minutes to retrieve his body, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Ms Alibi wants to know why this happened in a lift in a public building,” Mr O’Donnell said.
The Health and Safety Authority and gardaí are conducting separate inquiries, and the lift has been sealed off from use in the three-storey building, which houses a number of offices, including RTÉ's regional studios.
Mr O’Donnell said he was also calling for an inquest into the boy’s death.
The boy’s father, Ade Soremekun, visited Ms Alibi on Thursday, he confirmed, and he was also taken to the Hynes Building.
Mayor of Galway Cllr Pádraig Conneely will attend the boy’s funeral and burial today, with prayers at the University Hospital Galway mortuary followed by burial in Bohermore cemetery.
Ms Alibi has asked those attending to bring a candle to the cemetery.
Pastor Larry Ovie of the Faith Christian Fellowship Church said that the entire African community in Galway from many churches would attend to offer their prayers and support.