A GREAT-AUNT of baby Mia O'Connell has thanked the public for their support following the tragic loss of the baby girl.
Three-month-old Mia passed away in the early hours of Monday morning after she was attacked by the family dog as she slept in her cot in her mother's room.
She was discovered by her aunt at around 2am and died in hospital from severe head and neck injuries a short while later.
The dog, reported to be a husky-terrier mix, has been destroyed, and an inquest into the child's death is being prepared.
A funeral for baby Mia was held in her parents' hometown of Youghal, Cork, yesterday, and she was laid to rest in a local cemetery.
Her great-aunt, Diane Wood, the baby's mother's aunt, appeared on Waterford radio station WLR FM yesterday where she thanked the public for their support after the family's "devastating" loss.
"It never happens to you," she said. "It's always somebody else and to have it hit home and to see the tragedy and the loss is heart-breaking," she told the show.
"Words can't describe it."
Addressing the public directly, Ms Wood said: "From all the family we just want to say thank you, to the paramedics that were on the scene and the rapid response unit in Youghal that went, a massive thank you."
Speaking about baby Mia, who was born in February of this year, she said she was a "beautiful, beautiful little girl" who was "always laughing and smiling".
"She brought so much love to her parents" who were engaged just months ago and were so looking forward to raising their baby girl, she added. "She is going to be so missed."
The child's mother is in her 20's, and Mia was her first baby, Ms Wood said.
"She was so looking forward to the first smiles and the first words and sitting up, everything a young mum looks forward to."
Through the pain and tragedy of baby Mia being "taken away so devastatingly", Ms Wood said the family can "feel the warmth" of the support from the community and the public at large.
"I thank everyone for their support and well wishes," she said.