'Gentle, kind, and caring to all' - Tributes paid to mother who died following home birth

'Gentle, kind, and caring to all' - Tributes paid to mother who died following home birth

David Raleigh

Tributes have poured in for a mother who died after giving birth at her home in Co Limerick.

The tragedy has lead to a suspension of home birth services pending a HSE review.

The mother, named locally as Laura Liston, who was aged in her 30s, died after giving birth to her first child in Croom on June 5th.


A statement released Friday by UL Hospitals Group, which did not identify Ms Liston, read: “We can confirm that we have temporarily suspended the home birth service in the Midwest following a recent maternal death.

"The staff of UL Hospitals Group and of the home birth service would like to extend profound sympathies to the family involved on their devastating loss."

External review

"We have commissioned an external review of the home birth service in the Midwest," the statement added.

"A group of external experts, including those with midwifery and obstetrics expertise, is being assembled to conduct the review; looking at patient safety, clinical governance and any other issues arising."


A spokesperson for the group said it had "made contact with the small number of women in the region who were due to have home births in the coming months in relation to continuing their care".

"We won’t be commenting further on the specifics of this case as a review is to take place," the spokesperson added.

The temporary suspension of all home births in the midwest means women registered to have had a home birth in the region will instead have to attend University Maternity Hospital Limerick until further notice.

It is understood Ms Liston developed life-threatening health complications following the birth of her son and was later rushed by ambulance from the maternity hospital to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) where she was pronounced dead.


Ms Liston’s husband, Fergal Mannion, made an emotional tribute to his late wife at her funeral mass, held in St Mary’s Church, Croom, last Friday.

'Sad beyond words'

Fr Richard Davern, who officiated the funeral mass, said: "It was the most tragic case I have ever witnessed in my ministry or ever dealt with, and I just hope to God that the family will find strength."

"They have great hope with the little boy. Indeed he has given them great hope and something to focus on at this awful time.

"I suppose it is ironic that the weakest one, a little baby, is actually going to be the strongest bind that keeps the family together and keep them motivated.

"It’s sad beyond words, God love them."

Fr Davern, who previously married the couple, said Mr Mannion “spoke at the mass and thanked the community and said the kindness and goodness of people has been overwhelming”.

Croom Parish Priest, Canon Willie Fitzmaurice, said the community was deeply shocked and rallying around the families.

“They are heartbroken, it’s something beyond their imagining. The community has reached out and shown a tremendous solidarity to the family - they were shocked and heartbroken at the loss of a woman of such a young age, she was in her mid-30s,” Fr Fitzmaurice said.


Ms Liston had helped many vulnerable people through her work, Fr Fitzmaurice added: “She was a probation officer in the prison, she would have been well known and very popular with all the people she encountered in those areas of rehabilitation and so on.”

Friends and neighbours passed on their sympathies to the Liston and Mannion families in an online book of condolances.

Jillian Halpin, a former classmate of Ms Liston at Crescent College Comprehensive in Limerick, wrote: "I am shocked and so saddened to hear of Laura's passing. I have such lovely memories with Laura during our time in secondary school.

"She was gentle, kind and caring to all. My sympathies to both the Liston and Mannion families. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam."

"There are no words to convey the depth of our sorrow for you on the passing of Laura. May her beautiful memory give you strength and comfort at this time,” Jennifer and Ray Lynch wrote.

"Rest in peace Laura and watch over your baby and heartbroken family. Guide them and wrap your gentle wings around them. RIP," Edel Fitzgerald from Croom added.

“I worked with Laura in Tusla. She was an amazing colleague, hardworking, always had your back and always such great fun to be around,” Breffni Coffey wrote.

Ms Coffey added she had Dreams by Limerick band The Cranberries "in my head since the funeral and I will always think of [Laura] when I hear this song - a truly beautiful person inside and out".

Ms Liston, who was laid to rest in Relig Mhuire Cemetery in Croom, is survived by her husband, Fergal, baby son, Shay, parents, Fiona and John, and sisters, Jenifer and Sarah, and brother, John-Robert.