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Holly supporting campaign to bring Clarissa ‘home’

April 27th, 2021 11:45 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Rebecca Saunders with her late daughter Clarissa.

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SOCIAL Democrat TD, Holly Cairns, is supporting a campaign by Rebecca Saunders to have the remains of her three-year-old daughter, Clarissa, exhumed from where she’s buried in West Cork and brought to the United States.

Clarissa died by drowning at the hands of her father, Martin McCarthy, on the evening of March 5th 2013, and they were buried together in Schull four days later.

Rebecca now believes that burying them together was ‘a huge mistake’ because she feels as if she has abandoned her daughter. She said she would be able to function better if she was able to take Clarissa home to the US, where she now lives, and that it would bring her a small amount of closure.

She issued a statement thanking everyone who has opened up their hearts and listened to her story, which she said wasn’t an easy one to hear.

Social Democrat TD, Holly Cairns, said, ‘My heart goes out to Rebecca Saunders and I admire her courage in speaking out.’

The TD made the point that if Rebecca had been given another week to process what happened she wouldn’t have made the decision she did.

‘It is vital to give people time to process their shock to allow them time to make more informed decisions around burial arrangements,’ said Deputy Cairns.

‘Funeral directors, family liaison officers and members of the clergy should be educated on how to advise families appropriately and respectfully when faced with losing loved ones under such horrific and shocking circumstances,’ she added.

A member of the McCarthy family spoke to The Southern Star and asked people to bear in mind there are other family members affected by this tragedy.

Within four days of establishing a GoFundMe campaign – called Clarissa’s Cause – $40,000 of a $50,000 target was raised. Any funds not used in the process to exhume Clarissa will be donated to Edel House, and Cork University Maternity Hospital’s Neonatal Unit.

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