The jury at the inquest into the death of a couple who drowned in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, in March has returned an open verdict and recommended that the area where the tragedy happened should be better lit.

The inquest into the deaths of 39-year-old Frank Dunne and his wife Alexandra, 34, heard evidence that the couple, who lived in Munich in Germany, were on holiday in Ireland and visiting relations in Carrick-on-Shannon, where they had hired a cruiser for three days.

Elaine McCarthy, a cousin of Mr Dunne, who was originally from Dublin, told the inquest that she had dinner with the couple in The Oarsman restaurant on Wednesday 29 March and they parted company at approximately 10pm.

At 10.22pm, she sent a text to Mr Dunne to thank him for dinner, but the text was not delivered. The following day, she rang his phone a few times but got no reply.

The following Friday, Mr Dunne's mother Jessie rang her to say that the boat hire company, Emerald Star, had contacted her to say the couple had not checked out at the appointed time.

Ms McCarthy said she went to the Emerald Star marina and saw the couple's car still in the car park.

She checked their boat and saw their belongings were still there.

Gardaí went to the marina after the couple were reported missing

She was concerned and contacted gardaí.

She remained at the scene while a search was conducted of the River Shannon.

The search was carried out by local gardaí with the assistance of Leitrim Civil Defence, the Garda Water Unit, Lough Ree Sub-Aqua Club and Midlands Search and Rescue.

Evidence was given by another cousin, Eoin Donnellan, and Ms McCarthy's husband, Stuart, of searching the area and finding Mr Dunne's body at 2.30pm on Friday 31 March.

Sean Doyle of Lough Ree Sub-Aqua Club gave evidence of finding Mrs Dunne's body at 5.15pm that day.

Both were pronounced dead by Dr Dara Loftus.

Local man Douglas Boyd said that he was out for a walk that night with a friend when he heard what he thought was someone shouting "Frank" on the opposite side of the river.

The men went over to the Emerald Star jetties but said it was slippy and pitch dark and they could see nothing.

Another man who lives in an apartment on the opposite side of the river, James Hoban, said he was on his balcony having a cigarette when he heard a male voice that night shouting about ten times, but it was hard to see and he could not tell where it was coming from. He said he thought it was someone messing.

Post-mortem examinations were carried out on the bodies at Sligo University Hospital by Dr Clive Kilgallon who found that death in both cases was due to freshwater drowning.

The toxicology report showed that Mr Dunne had 238mgs of ethanol in his blood and Mrs Dunne had 341mgs of ethanol in her blood at the time of death.

Deputy Coroner for Sligo-Leitrim, Fergal Kelly, proposed an open verdict and that the couple passed away as a result of freshwater drowning on 31 March, the day they were found.

The jury found in accordance with the medical evidence and a recommendation was made to the local authority that the area be better lit.

The coroner described it as a very tragic incident, particularly when it involved people so young who were starting out on their married life together.