Water danger warning in wake of double tragedy

Stephen Ingram who under took a sponsored row from the share centre to Kesh on Saturday to raise funds for a MRI scanner in the Children's Hospital Belfast. He is pictured by the 12'Fermanagh boat in which he used for the occasion

Stephen Ingram who under took a sponsored row from the share centre to Kesh on Saturday to raise funds for a MRI scanner in the Children’s Hospital Belfast. He is pictured by the 12’Fermanagh boat in which he used for the occasion

WITH the arrival of summer weather this week the parents of a young Kinawley man who drowned in a popular lake 11 years ago have appealed to young people to be aware of the dangers posed by water.

Kevin O’Reilly (29), who lived with his parents, Rose and Kevin, in Carnview Park, lost his life in Brackley Lake about two miles from their home whilst trying to retrieve a child’s ball. He was an excellent swimmer.


The parents’ warning follows last week-end’s double drowning of a teenage boy and man near Annalong in County Down in a disused water-filled quarry.

A group of boys were swimming at the quarry, when one of them, 15-year-old Kevin O’ Hare, got into difficulty. Answering frantic appeals for help, 39-year-old Colin Polland, attempted to rescue Kevin, but he too perished.

Rose O’Reilly recalled that fateful April Sunday when her son lost his life, and added her voice to a growing campaign for inland lakes and lagoons in disused quarries to be signposted.

“It is a thing no parent should have to go through, to watch your child being taken out of the water and not a mark on them and lying there dead.”

“He was in full control, and that should served as a good warning to young people. Everybody puts these tragedies down to drink. No, it still can happen.

“So, what I would really like to say to young people is never say they are brave, that it won’t happen to them because water is very dangerous.”

She admitted she could not watch coverage of the double drownings, but she empathised fully with both families.
And, she fully supported calls for such places to be protected.


“Take Brackley Lake: people think lake are lovely places, and of course they are, but they’re vary dangerous. But, it’s only since Kevin drowned I always thought there’s no security at it, no rescue equipment and, half the time, the telephone kiosk is out of order and, unless you had a mobile phone, it’s very hard to get help.”

But, inland lakes and disused, water-filled quarries are not the only danger spots.

This week, the DoE Minister, Alex Atwood called for ‘urgent’ action on disused quarries. Earlier this year, he wrote to all 26 councils, requesting officers to check the safety of all old quarries in their areas.

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