Calls for safety audit at Carlingford harbour following Easter drowning

The scenery is magnificent, the road empty and silent in Carlingford at 5 to 3pm on Saturday the 28th of March 2020. Picture Ken Finegan/Newspics© Ken Finegan/Newspics

Margaret RoddyThe Argus

Calls have been made for a safety audit at the harbour of the popular north Louth village of Carlingford which has been the scene of two drowning tragedies in the last four years.

Dundalk father-of-four Alan Joyce drowned on Easter Monday after falling into the water while on a family camping trip, while Belfast woman Ruth Maguire drowned in March 2019 when visiting the village for a hen party

Local councillors highlighted the need for a review of safety measures at the harbour at last week’s meeting of Dundalk Municipal District.

“We need to look at making the harbour at Carlingford safer,” Cllr Andrea McKevitt said, referring to the drowning of Mr Joyce.

Cllr Antoin Watters said he fully supported the call for a safety audit, saying it had never taken place.

Previously the family of mother-of-three Ruth Maguirehad called for a safety railing to be erected at the harbour to prevent a similar tragedy.

At the inquest into the death, her mother said she would like to see something done to improve safety at the harbour, which she described as "totally unsafe”.

She had argued that the village, which made a lot of money from young people coming from all over Ireland to attend hen, stag and birthday parties, had a responsibility to make it safer for visitors.

She had also told the inquest that the family had been told of other ‘near misses’ at the harbour and had been contacted by the brother of a man who had fallen into the water while on a stag night but had fortunately been rescued by his friends.

The County Coroner Mr Ronan Maguire BL said he would contact Louth County Council and ask them to examine the feasibility of putting in a guard rail at the harbour in Carlingford.