A four-year-old boy has died after being struck by a van just yards from his home in County Longford. 

Charlie McDonagh was playing near his home in the Ardnacassa estate area of Longford Town when he was struck by a van shortly before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19. 

Emergency services rushed to the scene, but the four-year-old was pronounced dead a short time later, prompting a huge outpouring of grief in the local community. 

Longford Municipal District Cathaoirleach Peggy Nolan told the Irish Mirror that there was "an air of gloom" hanging over the entire community. 

"People are saying what a terrible tragedy and they are shocked," Nolan said. 

"I got a phone call earlier from one local woman who was in tears and she was saying people will be hugging their children tighter and holding them closer tonight and that is so true."

Nolan said that her heart was with the unnamed van driver who knocked the toddler down. 

"There are two families whose hearts are torn out of them tonight," she said. 

McDonagh's parents are respected and well-liked members of the local Travelling community and were reportedly comforted by relatives on Wednesday night. 

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the incident to come forward. 

Anyone who was traveling in the Palace Crescent area of Ardnacassa between 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and who may have camera footage of the incident is asked to make it available to gardaí. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact Longford station on 043 3350570, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.

The coroner has been informed and a post-mortem examination is due to take place.