A LITTLE boy and his dad who died in a devastating crash will be buried together in Portlaoise today (Tuesday) amid heartbreaking grief.
Father-of-four Vincent ‘Finch’ Rossi (29) and his five-year-old son Sully will be laid to rest in Ss Peter and Paul’s Cemetery following funeral Mass at noon in the adjoining parish church. The family has requested that people wear brightly coloured clothes to remember “our beautiful boys”.
Distraught family and friends were joined by large crowds of mourners at a wake and rosary in Keegan’s Funeral Home, Portlaoise yesterday evening, exactly one week after the crash that claimed the lives of the much-loved father and son.
A huge outpouring of support saw nearly €28,000 donated by yesterday morning to an online GoFundMe appeal, set up by a friend of the family, which was launched to help them cover funeral costs and support Vincent’s other children. The appeal set up by Elizabeth Mullally on Wednesday 29 May received over €24,000 in the first 24 hours alone, as more than 1,000 people came forward with donations.
One contributor to the fund wrote: “So, so tragic. Sympathy to the family and hope that our contributions will ease some of the burden over the next while.” Another said poignantly: “Because you were my friend and a good person.”
The father and son, who lived at Mill Court on the Green Road, were killed in a head-on collision with a lorry at about 5pm on Monday 27 May. The crash happened near Scrubb Cross on the Tullamore side of Killeigh village on the N80 Mountmellick-Tullamore road, a few miles from the Laois-Offaly border.
A native of Limerick, who lived in Portlaoise for most of his life, Vincent was driving his black Volkswagen Golf with his sons Sully and Daniel (8) and daughter Hayley (9) when the shocking crash occurred.
Hayley suffered life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to Crumlin Children’s Hospital in critical condition. She is continuing to receive intensive medical care at the hospital, where her condition was described as serious but stable at the weekend.
Daniel sustained less serious injuries and was discharged after receiving treatment at the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore.
Despite overwhelming shock and grief, Sully’s mother Tina Morrissey from Co Limerick somehow found the courage to pay a moving tribute to Vincent and their little son on social media. She said simply: “I have no words. My heart has literally been ripped from me. Sleep tight, Vince, and my beautiful big blue-eyed boy. Love you to heaven and back my sweet little angel.”
Tina’s mother Catherine also expressed her shock, writing: “May the angels welcome you with open arms.” Many hundreds of people offered heartfelt condolences to the extended family on a variety of social media pages, as well as on the funding appeal site.
A friend and neighbour in Mill Court said that residents of the estate are numb with shock and many tears have been shed, both by adults and children, at the sad loss of two beautiful people.
The fatal crash also brought tremendous pain and sadness for everyone involved with Barnashrone NS in Mountmellick, where Hayley and Daniel are pupils. A statement from the school said that management, staff, students and the surrounding community were deeply saddened by the deaths.
The statement said: “This is a terrible tragedy for the families, our school and our community. We are deeply saddened by these events and our thoughts and prayers are with the surviving members of the family.”
The statement also confirmed that the school is being supported by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) and the wider school community in helping students to deal with the tragedy. The school held a prayer service on Thursday, as staff and children mourned little Sully and his dad Vince and prayed for Hayley and Daniel’s recovery.
The crash scene was examined by a garda forensic collision investigation team and the shocked but uninjured lorry driver has assisted gardaí with their enquiries. As they continue to investigate the horrific crash, gardaí have asked anyone with information or dashcam footage of the collision to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 9327600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111 or any garda station. They also wish to speak to anyone who stopped at the scene to give help to the injured before emergency services arrived and who may have subsequently left the area.
The father and son are mourned by Sully’s mother Tina, Vincent’s partner Libby, his children Hayley, Dan and Charli-Mae, Vincent’s sisters Amy and Laura, their heartbroken families, Mary Heavin, Catherine Morrissey, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and many friends in Portlaoise and Ballinacourty, Kilfinane.