Sisters found dead on beach 'planned to move back here'
Published 21/03/2011 | 05:00
THE two sisters whose bodies were discovered fully clothed on a beach last week were considering moving back to Ireland permanently, having lived here for 15 years in the past.
The sisters have been named locally as Pamela and Denise Moore, originally from Birmingham, England.
The pair, who were in their early 50s, were discovered lying on rocks at the edge of the beach, about 10 feet apart, at Whitestrand at Miltown Malbay in Co Clare last Friday.
Their car, a green Citroen Xsara, was found close to where the bodies lay and their dog was discovered in the car.
The pair moved to the north-Cork town of Fermoy with their father in 1979 and opened a boutique called 'Dominos', which they ran there for almost 15 years.
They lived in a flat above the boutique for a number of years, before buying a house a short distance outside the town.
In 1994, they moved to north Wales, but always planned to return to Ireland.
Pat Bowes, from Fermoy in Co Cork, said last night his family knew the women for more than 30 years.
"They were like my family," he told the Irish Independent.
"I spoke to them all of the time. I had a telephone conversation with them just last Tuesday and they were in great form. I believe this was a tragic accident and nothing more," he said.
Mr Bowes said the sisters lived for their dogs.
"They always had dogs. They lived for them. What they liked to do most in the world was go for a walk along the beach with the dogs, after they would put them in the boot of their hatchback with a bowl of water, while they sat down on a rock at the water's edge and enjoyed a quiet cigarette and a chat," he said.
Mr Bowes, who is currently out of the country, said his son had to identify the women's bodies on Friday.
"These were lovely, quiet, good people. They loved Ireland and I am so sad that they had only been back a few months when this happened. They were considering settling here," he said.
Gardai say it may not be possible to piece together all the circumstances surrounding their deaths.
While the results of the post-mortem examinations have not been disclosed by gardai, it is understood that the cause of death was drowning.
Foul play has been ruled out.
"Gardai are satisfied that there was no external hand in the deaths of these woman," Superintendent Colm O'Sullivan of Ennistymon said. "There was no foul play and we are treating the deaths as a tragic accident. We now have to establish how this happened."
He said gardai were examining a number of theories, including the possibility that one of the women may have fallen or was struck by a freak wave while walking the beach or standing on the slipway and that her sister went to her aid.
Investigators are also believed to be looking at the possibility that one of the women may have suffered a medical episode and collapsed and that the other tried to help her.
It is understood that some medication belonging to one of the victims was discovered in the vehicle.
Their dog is being cared for at the Ennis Dog Pound, awaiting collection by family members.