Saturday 21 April 2018

Easter Tragedy: Broken fence that tragic dad and son walked through was fixed two weeks ago

Gardai investigate the deaths of a father and son at the Royal canal at Ashington on the Navan road in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate the deaths of a father and son at the Royal canal at Ashington on the Navan road in Dublin. Picture: Arthur Carron
Gardaí investigate at the scene beside the Royal Canal at Ashington in Dublin, where a father and son lost their lives yesterday. Photo: Arthur Carron
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

The broken fence that a tragic father and son walked through before falling to their deaths was fixed just two weeks ago.

Irish Rail has confirmed that they were alerted to the broken barrier near Ashington Green in Ashtown, North Dublin earlier this month and repairs were made on March 12.

On Sunday the bodies of Sean Sweeney (36) and his three-year-old son Tyler Joyce were discovered in a stream near the Royal Canal.

Gardai believe that they may have slipped and fallen after taking a shortcut through the broken fence from the Ashington estate to their home in Finglas.

Their bodies were discovered by a passer-by at about 3pm on Easter Sunday but it is not known how long they were in the water.

A post mortem carried out this afternoon has concluded that the father and son died from drowning.

Gardai believe that the pair died in a tragic accident and are satisfied that no crime occurred.

A file will now be prepared for the coroner's court.

A spokesman for Irish Rail explained that they manage the railings between the rail lines and the estate.

“We repaired this fence on March 12th. It is an area where there is frequent interference with the fence and we have fixed it numerous times.”

The spokesman said the damage was discovered by a line inspection team earlier this month.

He added that they will now be consulting with Dublin City Council about future plans for the area.

“We will have talks to establish if anything can be done to make this area more secure.”


Local councillor Brendan Carr called on the council, Irish Rail and Waterways Ireland - who manage the canal - to build a wall between the communities.

“This is the second tragedy to happen in this area," said cllr Carr. "It is an ongoing issue with kids and others running across the tracks.

“I would call on all the bodies involved to sit down and come up with a solution to stop anyone ever breaking through that fence again."

Post-mortems on the bodies were taking place this afternoon at the Dublin City morgue in Marino. The results will be known later this evening but are unlikely to be published.

A senior source said they are expected to confirm that the deaths were a result of a tragic accident.

The child's mother Pamela Joyce has been comforted by relatives.  Tributes, including an Easter egg and daffodils, were left at the scene today.

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