Wednesday 26 November 2014

Tragic Chloe Kinsella's mum warns of teen drinking binges

KATHRYN HAYES

Published 27/03/2014 | 08:13

Chloe Kinsella (15) was missing for six days
Chloe Kinsella (15) was missing for six days

A woman whose 15-year-old daughter drowned after a drinking binge has said her warnings to teenagers about alcohol are being ignored.

Limerick teenager Chloe Kinsella's body was recovered from the Shannon a week after she went missing.

Speaking after an inquest into her daughter's death revealed she had toxic levels of alcohol in her system when she drowned, Shirley Kinsella said she would not wish any other family to suffer the same loss.

The mother of seven said she still cannot believe what happened to her Chloe.

"I'm going through hell and back again, and young people are still drinking near my house. You're just wasting your time talking to them," she said.

"I just hope to God for their own sakes that they just look after themselves. I wouldn't like anyone to go through that. I will never be right after this. I can't believe what happened to her."

Mrs Kinsella said Chloe would have turned 16 last week.

Instead of celebrating, the family met at the teenager's graveside where they released balloons in her memory.

The body of the Junior Cert student was recovered from the Shannon on October 4 last year following a massive search operation involving hundreds of local volunteers.

It was on the sixth day of searching that Chloe's remains were found at Brown's Quay, a short distance from her family's home in Kenyon Avenue, Kileely.

She had queued for tickets for a One Direction concert with friends the night before she disappeared.

The inquest heard from pathologist Vourneen Healy that Chloe had a toxic level of alcohol in her blood and concluded that her death came as a result of drowning.

Limerick City Coroner John McNamara said he was aware of the "great efforts" that went into finding Chloe, whose body was identified by her older sister Linsey (24), the last person to have seen her alive.

"I don't know if she fell in accidentally or intentionally and therefore the suitable and correct verdict to return is an open verdict in accordance with medical evidence," said Mr McNamara.

Chloe's uncle, Matt Franklin, who attended the inquest, said the recent searches for two young students who went missing earlier this month in Limerick "brought it all back" for the Kinsella family.

"It is very hard when you hear the helicopter hovering over your house because you know there is someone else in trouble," he said.

Mr Franklin, who urged all young people to live their lives to the full when he spoke at Chloe's funeral, has continued with his efforts to discourage teenagers from drinking alcohol.

"I keep talking to them and approaching them and telling them to cop themselves on and make a life for themselves. Apparently, it's just falling on deaf ears," he said.

"They're around there on Friday nights and Saturday nights still doing the same thing. You can't blame the gardai, they're doing their best -- they're bringing them home, but a half-an-hour later they're out the door again."

Mr Franklin has also become involved with Limerick Land Search, a volunteer group that helps search for missing people.

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