Garda was 10th to die falling from cliffs in five years
THE off-duty garda who died after falling from a cliff earlier this week was the 10th person to be killed in similar accidental circumstances on the same coastline in the past five years.
Garda Adrian Martin, from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, had been fishing from a 75ft cliff near Dunlicky, a short distance from the popular resort town of Kilkee, Co Clare, when he fell to his death on Thursday. Gda Martin's six-year-old son witnessed the tragedy.
The Clones-based garda had been on holidays in Kilkee with his family at the time of the accident. It is believed his fishing line got snagged on the cliff face and he fell to his death while reaching to try to free it. It is also believed that an onshore breeze may have played a part in the accident.
The victim's body was quickly recovered by Kilkee Marine Rescue Service volunteers. Gda Martin was pronounced dead a short time later.
Before Thursday's tragedy, nine non-Irish nationals, some resident in Ireland at the time, had died since July 2006 at various locations along almost the entire length of the west Clare coast.
In seven cases, the victims were fishing and fell or were swept from rocks or cliffs ranging in height from 20ft to 80ft. Two others died after losing their footing while walking along cliff edges.
A number of the sites of the tragedies have had warning signs and lifebuoys along the shore for many years -- but that has not stopped many people from attempting to fish from the dangerous spots.
There was no sign or lifebuoy where Gda Martin fell.
Clare County Council's Water Safety Development Officer Liam Griffin said: "This is another terrible accident with tragic consequences. We would never recommend that anyone goes fishing from rocks or low cliffs but if people insist on doing so, they should be conscious of their surroundings.
"People must ensure they have all the necessary safety equipment, especially a life jacket or other flotation device and non-slip shoes," Mr Griffin added.