Family mourn drowned 'devoted mother'
THE family of a woman who drowned in front of her young daughter last night paid tribute to a "loving daughter and sister," whose death was a "tragedy" for the family.
Mother of three Marion Kelly (39), originally from Raheen, Co Laois, but living in Portlaoise, died on Wednesday morning while holidaying with her family in Co Waterford.
She drowned after being swept out to sea whilst playing with her daughter Ciara (8) during a family outing to Tramore beach.
Her elderly mother, Mary, was also with them when the accident occurred.
Mrs Kelly was paddling in the water along the shore when two freak waves knocked her down and dragged her out to sea.
"Marion was a loving daughter and sister. Her children were her passion in life and she will be deeply missed by her family and friends," the family said in a statement to the Irish Independent.
She was a "devoted mother" to her three children Frankie (16), Corey (13) and Ciara, the family added in the statement.
Marion, the only daughter of James and Mary Kelly, is also survived by her five brothers James, Andrew, Paddy, John and Kevin.
Parish priest Fr James Kelly said that the family were decent and very involved in the community.
"I know the family well, her father Jimmy is a truck driver and they've been living in the area for years. This is such a tragedy," he said.
It is understood that one wave knocked over Mrs Kelly, who was standing on a slipway, before another one dragged her out to sea.
A friend managed to pull her out of the water after the incident, which happened at 8.30am.
Rescue workers and onlookers tried desperately to revive Mrs Kelly after she was recovered from the water.
Mrs Kelly's daughter, Ciara, was comforted by family members during the ordeal.
Gardai assisted at the scene and Mrs Kelly was airlifted to Waterford General Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
Ciara Kelly was treated for shock.
The children are currently staying with their father, Brendan.
Sea conditions were not rough at the time and there are no undertows or strong currents along that part of the coast.