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Thursday 14 December 2017

Young groom among five Irish holiday deaths in single week

LARISSA NOLAN A YOUNG Irish groom-to-be was killed while holidaying in Spain, when he fell from a balcony in a tragic accident after trying to climb in the window of the locked apartment where he was staying.

Ross Millar, 27, was holidaying with friends in the Spanish resort of Marbella when he returned from a golfing trip without his keys.

The IT consultant from Portmarnock in Dublin asked a next-door neighbour to let him in so he could climb in the window of his apartment.

But he fell to his death while making his way from one balcony to the other.

Ross, described by his father Frank as "a son who always had a smile on his face" was due to marry fiancee Emma Bollard in six weeks' time. He was on his stag holiday with a group of friends when the accident happened.

But Portmarnock parish priest Micheal Comer said alcohol was not a factor in Ross's tragic death.

Said Fr Comer of St Anne's church, "This was a terribly unfortunate accident. It happened during the day. He was just trying to get into his apartment after being locked out. His family and friends have been devastated by the tragedy, the church was crammed for his funeral on Thursday."

Ross Millar was one of five Irish people who died abroad in the last week. All five were young people, the youngest aged 21, the oldest 37.

Last Tuesday, a nephew of Defence Minister Willie O'Dea died in a drowning accident while holidaying with five friends in Ibiza.

Basil Burke died after he leaped off a party boat with a friend during an ill-fated trip in the port of San Antonio in the early hours of the morning. The 21-year-old from Hospital in Co Limerick reportedly got into difficulties while trying to swim ashore and drowned.

Minister O'Dea said: "My young nephew was a fine young lad with everything to live for. I wouldn't like anyone to go through what that family are going through at the moment."

Also killed last Tuesday was a Green Party councillor and his girlfriend, who died in a Beijing road accident.

Dublin councillor Fintan McCarthy and partner Sonya Rabbitte died when the minibus they were passengers on collided with a lorry outside the Chinese capital as they travelled to see the Great Wall of China.

Green Party TD Paul Gogarty paid tribute to Mr McCarthy, his lifelong friend whom he described as: "The eldest brother in one of the closest and nicest families you could ever meet. His death cannot be decribed in words. I am consumed with grief and disbelief."

Last Sunday, yet another young Irishman died in a drowning incident in a pool in the resort of Playa del Ingles. Prominent GAA player Brendan O'Reilly, 23, from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, died after getting into difficulties in his apartment complex pool. In 2004, teenager Michael Clancy from Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim died in almost identical circumstances in the same resort.

Fine Gael foreign affairs spokesman Bernard Allen said he had never heard of so many Irish deaths abroad in such a short period.

"I would like to see an advice leaflet published that could be handed out with travel documentation," he said. "A booklet with practical dos and don'ts - such as avoiding swimming while drinking and being aware that many pools do not have a lifeguard," he said.

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