Saturday 17 March 2018

Floods: Tragedy of hero off-duty Garda who lost his life saving others from Liffey

Ciaran Jones had been helping people on the upper stretches of the River Liffey. Photo: Sportsfile
Ciaran Jones had been helping people on the upper stretches of the River Liffey. Photo: Sportsfile
The collapsed bridge pictured after flooding in 2008 at Ballysmuttan, where the young garda was swept away by flood waters last night
Flooding in dundrum shopping centre
Flooding caused major problems for traffic and residents at East Wall, Dublin
Flooding in Dunlaoghaire
Flooding in East Wall, Dublin
Flooding at Shamrock Cottages, North Strand, Dublin

Brian Hutton and reporters

GARDA Ciaran Jones was off duty when raging Liffey waters threatened to collapse the Ballysmuttan Bridge near his Co Wicklow home last night.

But he didn’t think twice of jumping from his own vehicle to warn oncoming motorists of the dangers.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore paid tribute to the former Garda in the Dail today.

His brother and a friend last saw the young GAA player trying to save the lives of others before he was swept away at 7pm.

Teams searching for him today found a body close to where he was last seen.

Ciaran Jones (25) was stationed at Stepaside, south Dublin and lived at Manor Kilbride.

His body was discovered at Ballyward Bridge, near Manor Kilbride shortly before 9am today.

Superintendent Eamon Keogh, of Blessington Garda Station, said Garda Jones - a member of the force for about four years - was pulled into the river while trying to come to the aid of a motorist.

"He was seen for a few moments by friends and then he wasn't seen again," he said.

There had been fears the bridge across the River Liffey was in danger of collapsing as people tried to cross.

No-one else was injured.

It is understood that up to 60 people witnessed the young sportsman being swept away by flood water.

His brother and sister were at the scene today. Garda Jones’s parents are understood to be returning home from abroad where they had been on holiday.

Ciaran Jones was a prominent GAA player with Kilbride and was also part of Mick O'Dwyer's Wicklow senior football squad over the past four years.

Although Kilbride is not a senior team, Ciaran's outstanding play as a forward had impressed the county selectors and he was considered one of the top scorers in the county.

Searches commenced before 8pm last night and continued to 1am today.

The Irish Coast Guard, the Garda helicopter and mountain and river rescue teams joined Garda colleagues and local people in the search which resumed again at first light.

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