Tuesday 17 October 2017

Family of 'promising boxer' (16) who drowned in lake settle High Court case for €75k

Jonathan Mongan (16) who got into difficulties swimming in a lake at Killykeen Forest Park near Cavan
Jonathan Mongan (16) who got into difficulties swimming in a lake at Killykeen Forest Park near Cavan

Tim Healy

THE family of a 16-year old boy who drowned in a forest park lake while on an outing with his educational course has settled its High Court action over his death for €75,000.

At the time of his death, Jonathan Mongan was a promising young boxer.

The court heard the boy drowned despite his friends' efforts to save him after he fell off a jetty in to the water at Killykeen Forest park, Co Cavan.

Jonathan’s mother, Teresa Mongan, of John Paul Avenue, Cavan, Co. Cavan had sued Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (ETB) which managed the education and training facility where Jonathan was taking the Youth Reach programme. The action was also against Coillte Teoranta which was responsible for Killykeen Forest Park.

The claims were denied.

Richard Kean SC, for the family, said it was a very tragic case where the young man had been attending a Youth Reach programme at  the ETB facility at Ballinagh Road, Cavan.

Jonathan Mongan (16) who got into difficulties swimming in a lake at Killykeen Forest Park near Cavan
Jonathan Mongan (16) who got into difficulties swimming in a lake at Killykeen Forest Park near Cavan

Counsel said the group went on the outing to the forest park on June 30, 2014.

Eight young people, who were unsupervised, came across a jetty at a lake and Jonathan fell into the water, counsel said.

It was not known how he fell in the water. A number of his friends jumped in to try and save him, but he drowned.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very tragic and traumatic case for the close knit family who had lost a son at the cusp of adulthood.

In her action, Mrs Mongan claimed her family had suffered great mental distress, upset and anguish as a result of Jonathan's death.

It was claimed there was a failure on behalf of Cavan and Monaghan ETB to have any effective system of supervision in place on the trip.

It was claimed there were four tutors assigned to 21 students, which the ETB ought to have known  was insufficient.

The group of students was allegedly permitted to wander off alone without a tutor and were totally unsupervised in the park for a protracted period of time, it was claimed.

The claims were denied.

It was claimed against Coillte Teoranta there was an alleged failure to have in place a locked gate restricting access to the jetty.

There was also an alleged failure to have in place at the time visible signage on the lake and at the jetty warning park visitors not to swim at the location and as to the depth and murkiness of the water.

It was also claimed there was an alleged failure at the time to have any life saving devices in place around the jetty.

Coillte denied all claims.

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