Family of woman who drowned in Carlingford seeks safety measures
Coroner at inquest of Ruth Maguire, who died after night out, to ask council about rail
Ruth Maguire from Newcastle, Co Down, who died last March after a night out. Photograph : Facebook
Flowers on the harbour in Carlingford, Co Louth last March. Photograph: Colin Keegan/ Collins Dublin
The family of a woman who drowned after going into Carlingford Lough in Co Louth has called for a guard rail or other safety measures to be installed at the harbour in the village.
The Coroner has said he will contact Louth County Council and ask them to examine the feasibility of putting in a guard rail.
The inquest into the death of Ruth Maguire (30) from Newcastle Co Down heard she was part of a hen party of 30 that had travelled from Belfast last March. It had booked to stay the weekend in Carlingford village in over St Patrick’s weekend.
The mother of three had spoken about going home to Newcastle when she left the premises the group was in at at about 11.30pm.
She took a photograph outside a house across from the pier and posted it to Instagram at midnight. It is believed she fell off the pier a short time later.
Her partner James Griffin, whom she was due to marry last August, discovered she had rung him on his work phone at 6 mins past midnight when he switched it back on two weeks later.
The inquest heard the alarm was raised the next day (March 17th) and extensive searches took place.
The RNLI lifeboat at Newcastle was tasked to assist and the inquest heard a crew member spotted Ms Maguire’s body on Blockhouse Island in Carlingford Lough on March 18th .
Her mother Geraldine Worthington said during the inquest, in Dundalk Courthouse, that she would like to see something done about the harbour. She said it was totally unsafe and there was a massive drop and it was wide open.
She said money is made by people coming from all over Ireland and drinking far more than they should be . She said they had heard of another man who had been on a stag and had fallen in and was rescued by his friends.
In response to the Coroner Ronan Maguire, gardaí said there were no warning signs.
Ms Worthington also said it is possible to drive onto the pier and piers like that are unsafe. She also said the ground is uneven and people can trip on it. She said she knew that “everything is about money but life is more important than money.”
Mr Maguire said it was not known exactly what happened and he returned an open verdict in keeping with the medical evidence that Ruth had drowned.
He said he will contact Louth County Council and ask them to examine the feasibility of putting in a guard rail at the harbour in Carlingford.
Speaking afterwards her mother welcomed the coroner’s pledge to raise the matter with the county council.
“We are very happy about that..... we are very glad he is prepared to do it and he sees a need to do it.” She said the family will also be approaching the council over the issue.
“It is an uneven surface, anybody could trip and fall in during the day, you don’t have to be drunk or anything else, it is a massive drop down, they need to put at least a rail up or even lights so someone knows they are leaving the road and going to a harbour.”
In a statement, Louth County Council said: “We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of Ruth Maguire. We note that the coroner intends to contact Louth County Council and we will consider the details in that correspondence carefully.”