Locals in Balbriggan have vowed to hold a ceremony for baby Belle amid calls for the Justice Minister to investigate the circumstances of her lonely burial in Glasnevin.
There was a huge outpouring of grief and sympathy after the newborn baby girl’s body was found on a Balbriggan beach just days before Christmas 2018.
Gardai and Fingal County Council had been given to understand that once her tiny body was released by the coroner, they could arrange a local burial.
But shock news of her interment without mourners at the Angels Plot in Glasnevin left the community reeling with hurt and anger.
Cllr Grainne Maguire (Ind) told Dublin Gazette locals were in favour of a quiet, dignified local ceremony to pay their last respects to the tragic tot.
She said: “There is talk of doing something, whether it be a private visit to Glasnevin cemetery or something locally. I think both might happen.
“Certainly, the women who were directly involved and who found her, they need to do something themselves, but that might be a very private thing.
“I think the town has to do something. Nobody wanted a public funeral, but we wanted to be included and just have a chance to pay our last respects and say goodbye.”
Staffords undertakers provided Belle with a private funeral service but only the gravedigger and undertaker was present as her tiny white coffin was lowered into the ground.
She was buried under the name ‘unknown baby’, as she was not born alive and could not be legally named without a parent’s consent.
Last Sunday, a low-key service was held in Glasnevin for Belle, coinciding with Mother’s Day, with flowers and tributes laid at her grave, which is located at plot R1.
Gardai in Balbriggan involved with the investigation were not made aware of Belle’s funeral arrangements and are said to be “devastated” over the way it was handled.
Raising the issue in the Seanad last week, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee (FF) called on Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to provide answers.
She said: “We were assured that once the coroner had done the appropriate investigation baby Belle’s body would be released to the local gardai and local community.
“Baby Belle impacted us all, the situation her mother faced impacted us all because she was part of our community. We’re very, very upset and we’re really, really grappling for answers.
“The raw emotion is still very real. I want to know why baby Belle was not returned to us and buried within her community.”