Thursday 22 August 2019

Gardaí probe source of drugs at music festival after teen (19) left critically ill

Emergency: The teen is at Cork University Hospital. Stock picture
Emergency: The teen is at Cork University Hospital. Stock picture

Ralph Riegel

A major Garda investigation is under way into the source of a suspected contaminated batch of drugs at an Irish music festival as a teen remains on a life-support machine.

The 19-year-old from Tipperary fell ill on Friday evening after it is believed he ingested a substance while attending the Indiependence festival in Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

It is unclear what precise substance was involved but detectives believe it was either ecstasy or MDMA.

The Garda investigation is now attempting to determine the precise source of the substance and whether it was contaminated or became toxic after its combination with alcohol.

The teen was brought to medical staff at the festival site by concerned friends shortly before 5pm on Friday.

He was immediately treated on site before being rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated and he was admitted to the intensive care unit at CUH in a critical condition and placed on a life- support machine.

His family rushed to CUH where they have maintained a vigil by his hospital bedside.

An Indiependence festival spokesperson confirmed they were aware of the incident.

"A 19-year-old male reported to medical (staff) on Friday evening and was treated on site by a doctor before being transferred to CUH where his condition is being monitored," the spokesperson said.

"To clarify media reports of drug related issues at Indie 2019, we wish to confirm that since the event opened at 10am on Friday, we have had one drug related transfer to CUH.

"Chief medical officer William Wade has confirmed that on Friday evening a 19-year-old male was transferred to CUH having received treatment from the on-site doctor.

"He remains in CUH where his condition is being monitored. We have no further information at this time."

More than 15,000 music fans attended the event headlined by Bastille, Lewis Capaldi, Biffy Clyro, Gavin James as well as Catfish and the Bottlemen.

In a social media posting as the festival opened, the organisers issued a welfare message about "a bad batch of something in the campsite".

A similar welfare alert was issued by CUH.

CUH doctor Mike O'Connor urged young people to avoid drugs at all costs.

Irish Independent

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