Svetlana Levchenko, Julia Sinjagina, Irina Semikrasa and Yann Merezkins at the vigil in Freshford. Photo: Pat Moore
There was an air of shock and disbelief in the village of Freshford this evening as people from all walks of life gathered to pay their respects to Rita Apine, a young mother who died in tragic and terrible circumstances, on Sunday.
Over 400 people attended the vigil at the community hall in Freshford. People queued in silence in the rain before signing a book of condolences and entering the hall.
Candles were lit and prayers said in memory of a woman who the local community considered one of their own. A Lativan poem, translated into English, was also read as men, women and children reflected on her short life and untimely and tragic death.
Noel Cleere, chairman of the local community group, Acorn said that there is 'sadness and grief at the loss of such a beautiful young woman and mother'.
"Rita was known to most of us by a wave or a smile, Rita lived among our community, in a very quiet manner.
"It was her wish to make Ireland her home, Rita loved this country and last week she was making enquiries about child care facilities here in Freshford, so she had plans to stay among us for a very long time. This simple candle lighting vigil, is our way of letting Rita's family know that they are in our prayers, and she will not be forgotten and it is hoped that us gathering together will show the family that people in our community do care.
"A member of our community has died in terrible circumstances and it is only proper that we should do this," he said.
Yann Mereszkins, a friend of Rita's described her as 'a good and careful mother'.
"I knew Rita from the moment she came to Ireland. She was always kind and helpful and tried to help everyone. I can't believe that she is gone.
"She was always positive, I have never seen her negative. She went through rough stages but always stayed positive and kept her troubles to herself. It is a big shame that she is not with us," he added.
Mr Mereszkins thanked people for attending the vigil.
"I appreciate it with the whole of my heart that you showed up and the respect you have shown for Rita."
Rita is survived by her two children Armaud (10) and Alina (2).