Mother warns about water safety at son's inquest

Friday 30 May 2014 19.49
Michael O'Driscoll, 22, drowned after getting into difficulties in the River Lee
Michael O'Driscoll, 22, drowned after getting into difficulties in the River Lee

The mother of a young man who was among 12 people to drown in a 10-day period last summer has pleaded with young people to stay away from rivers, especially in hot weather.

Mary O'Driscoll said she didn't want any other family to go through what her family has experienced. 

She was speaking after Cork City Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of misadventure in the case of her son Michael O'Driscoll who drowned last June.

Mr O'Driscoll, who was 22, with an address at 46 Leesdale, Bishopstown, in Cork drowned after getting into difficulties while swimming while drunk in the River Lee near Inniscarra.

The inquest heard that the young man was among four who, just after midnight,  tried to swim about 30 metres to an opposite river bank where a swing had been set up.

One witness, Christopher O'Driscoll, told gardaí that that they were drunk and only doing it for the craic.

Garda Adrian Murphy told the inquest that people were very drunk and aggressive during the search operation for the young man.

Garda Murphy said they had to call for backup from several stations and that as ambulance personnel worked for up to 40 minutes to revive the man some of the drunken group began banging on the sides of the ambulance.

A post-mortem examination found that Michael O'Driscoll had three times the legal driving limit of alcohol in his blood and a small amount of diazepam in his system. The cause of death was drowning.

Coast Guard issues bank holiday advice

The Irish Coast Guard has advised to public to be safety conscious when enjoying the water and coastal activities over the bank holiday weekend and throughout the summer.

The Coast Guard also reminded people to only swim at beaches and waterways that have lifeguards on duty, pay attention to the safety flags and avoid locks and weirs.

People are also reminded not to go near the water after consuming alcohol and to be familiar both with the local area and with their capabilities.

If people come across someone in difficulty in the water they are asked to dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.