Heartbroken mum's plea as five drown in one week
THE mother of one of Ireland's latest drowning victims has made an emotional appeal to youngsters to be careful in the water and try and prevent more tragedies.
Ann Harding was speaking after her son, Daniel, became one of three people who drowned within 24 hours, and one of five who drowned in less than a week.
The body of Daniel (19) was recovered in the early hours of yesterday morning at Drinaune Lake, near Strokestown, Co Roscommon, only hours before he was due to get the boat to England to start a new job in a family bookmakers business in London.
And later yesterday, Joe Killeen (17), from Meelick, Co Clare, was pronounced dead at University Hospital Limerick after his body was recovered from a canal in Co Clare.
The stretch of water in a popular bathing and fishing spot is known locally as the Head Race – it feeds underwater turbines at the ESB Power Station at Ardnacrusha – where he got into difficulty and vanished under the water's surface.
Last night, Daniel's heartbroken mother appealed to young people to be careful in the water so they don't have to go through what her family is now. "I heard about two drownings on the news on Thursday and I felt for the families and here I am another few hours later and our Daniel is one of the statistics," she told the Irish Independent.
"The gardai and the Coast
Guard and the local marine rescue services did their best but they couldn't get to him."
On Thursday, Kyle Roche (10) was swept away by strong currents in Youghal Bay in front of his mother.
Earlier this week in Kildare, Abayomi Adefabi (16) died after he got into difficulties swimming with friends in the River Liffey at the Castletown Estate outside of Celbridge.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Lisa Knight (21) drowned during a night swim in the River Feale in Co Limerick with friends.
As Irish Water Safety (IWS) bosses appealed to people to be careful this weekend, Mrs Harding recalled how she arrived at the lake just 20 minutes after Daniel disappeared under the waters around 8pm on Thursday.
"I got a call to get there quickly and to make sure to bring someone with me and I just knew it was bad. And when I got there and saw the ambulance I thought they'd already got him out of the water and there was some hope," she said at her home in Elphin, Co Roscommon.
"But he was still in the water and it was after midnight before he was found. Everyone did their best."
Daniel was one of six children. His siblings Siobhan (24) and Clare (21), Richie, (16), David (13) and Andrew (12) spoke of a "brilliant brother" who was loved by all who met him.
"Today was to have been his last day in Ireland and we're now bringing him home in a brown box," said Richie.
Dad David, originally from London, said the family had moved to Co Roscommon five years ago from Tallaght, Dublin, for a better life.
"Daniel was a super lad. He was funny, smart, handsome, enthusiastic," he said, adding he had completed an internship in a cafe in Carrick-on-Shannon but could not find work.
"He was looking forward to going over to our relatives in London and starting a new life for himself."
Mrs Harding said Daniel had gone to the lake – many families used it for recreation – with his childhood sweetheart, Rosy Donnelly, and best friend Ricky O'Grady. He had been swimming towards an island in the middle of the lake when he turned back but never made it ashore.
The most recent drowning, Joe Killeen, occurred shortly after 4.30pm yesterday. A major search and rescue operation began.
However, it shortly became a recovery operation, a garda spokesman said.
The victim's father received word his son had been involved in an accident and was summoned to the scene.
The devastated man was present at the water's edge when divers recovered his son's body at around 6pm. The boy's family were said to be inconsolable last night.
His body was taken from the scene for a post-mortem, which is due to be carried out today at University Hospital Limerick.