'We're blessed by friends' - parents of tragic Emmy
A five-year-old girl who drowned in a lake in Germany will be buried today.
The funeral of Emmy Sophia Eckert, who lived in Cork, will take place in Ballincollig.
Her parents, Andreas and Darlene Eckert, said they were overwhelmed by the support shown to them since the tragedy on August 8.
The couple posted a special message to thank friends in Cork for their support and kindness in setting up a GoFundMe campaign to help the family with funeral costs.
"We would like to thank you for this wonderful support. It is a blessing to have you all," the couple said.
The appeal raised nearly €11,000 of its €12,000 target in five days.
Emmy died in a freak lake accident during a family holiday in Dessau.
Her body was brought back to Ireland at the weekend and she was lying in repose at Crowley's Funeral Home in Ballin- collig last night.
The funeral will take place at 11am today at the Bible Baptist Centre at Innishmore.
Ballincollig Bible Baptist community pastor Craig Led- better said everyone was shocked by the tragedy, but were doing everything possible to support the Eckert family.
Emmy is survived by her parents, siblings Johannes, Paula and Josef, and her grandparents and extended family.
It was the first of two drowning tragedies to involve a Cork child in only four days.
On August 12, Avery James Greene (3), from Mallow, died after being found floating unresponsive in a pool at a complex in Cabo Roig on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
He had been on holiday with his extended family, including his grandparents.
His funeral arrangements will be confirmed when his remains are repatriated to Ireland.
Avery is survived by his parents, Eric and Amanda, and siblings Lucia and Robyn.
Irish Water Safety (IWS) chief executive John Leech said the rate of drownings in Ireland, and those involving Irish citiz- ens overseas, remained "a matter of serious concern".
The deaths bring to four the number of Irish children under 14 to drown this year. Two died here and two overseas.
"Clearly we are very, very concerned," Mr Leech said.
"What is shocking is that, if you look at the statistics, we lose a classroom of children every 10 years.
"Around 30 children aged under 14 will drown on average every decade.
"We are hoping that the figure is declining and, in fact, the overall drowning statistics have been going down over recent years."
Mr Leech said the organisation was hoping that, for the first time in the modern era, drownings among all age groups will drop below the 100 a year mark.
"Last year we had 103 drownings in Ireland, which is the lowest since 1939," he added.