Couple drown as car falls into Lough Derg

 

A campaign to have barriers erected at Kilgarvan Quay, Ballinderry, on the Tipperary side of Lough Derg is to be intensified after an elderly couple died when their car plunged into the water at the weekend.

The bodies of the couple and their small dog were removed from the car at 3 a.m. yesterday and taken to Nenagh General Hospital where a post-mortem examination was carried out.

Mr Tim Kennedy (76) and his wife, Theresa (75), of Melrose, Nenagh, were celebrating their wedding anniversary at the prize-winning Brocka-on-the-Water restaurant on Saturday night, a short distance from the scene of the accident.

Mr Kennedy was a retired Bord na Mona employee and a native of Kilcormac, Co Offaly. His wife was from the Nenagh area to which they moved on retirement. The couple had no children. The alarm was raised when they did not return home. They had left a dog in their garage and neighbours became concerned about their whereabouts.

Gardai believe they took a wrong turn when they left the restaurant as they were not familiar with the area. Gardai from Nenagh and the Lough Derg Lake Watch group discovered their 1990 silver Toyota car in 10 feet of water about 20 yards out from the quay.

A member of Lake Watch explained that the quay has public lighting and the car drove between a small disused crane and a bench that appeared to have been moved from its normal position. Mrs Anne Gernon, who runs the Brocka-on-the-Water restaurant said: "We were all very saddened by the tragedy. I had a long chat with the couple between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. when they left to go home.

"It was a particularly bad, wet night, and they had a small dog in the car who could have fogged up the windows. It was very wet and I wished them safe home, but tragically they turned right towards the quay instead of left which would have taken them to the Nenagh road," she said.

She explained that they were not regular customers, and the husband rang several times checking on directions. "They left in great form and really enjoyed themselves," she added.

She said that, through the angling club, locals had been campaigning for bollards at the quay as on a previous occasion a car was only inches from the water. "We will be making further representations to the local authority to get bollards and warning signs erected," she said.

The water at Kilgarvan quay is deep as it was once used by Guinness barges.

Father Dan Fitzgerald, of St Mary of the Rosary Church, Nenagh, said people were shocked by the news of the tragedy as they were a very popular couple.