Father appeals for more CCTV cameras near UCC

John Joe Ronayne’s son Colin went missing following a night out on New Year’s Eve

The father of a UCC student whose disappearance earlier this year prompted a huge search operation has called for the installation of CCTV cameras near the university.

John Joe Ronayne told the inquest into the death of his son Colin (31) that he and his family were hugely grateful to the gardaí for their investigation into Colin's disappearance on January 1st last.

However, he said it was clear the investigation was heavily reliant on CCTV footage from private premises.

“I think there should be more CCTV cameras around UCC or anywhere you have a large student population,” said Mr Ronayne, from Lavally, Mallow.


Mr Ronayne reported his son missing on January 3rd when his family failed to make contact with him after he went out on New Year’s Eve.

The inquest heard Colin Ronayne, who was in the final year of a degree at UCC, went out with a number of friends in Cork city, before catching a taxi with friends to a house on Magazine Road at 4am on January 1st.

Det Sgt Bergin outlined how gardaí began their investigation after the Ronayne family reported their son missing.

They began checking CCTV footage from the area and were able to trace his route from Magazine Road down to Wellington Bridge.

Det Sgt Bergin said that Mr Ronayne used to park his car on the Lee Road when attending UCC and gardaí established from CCTV footage that he was headed towards Wellington Bridge and the Lee Road when he was last seen at 6.05am.

He said the wall at Wellington Bridge was quite low and the River Lee was in flood at the time after torrential rain over the Christmas period.

He said it appeared that Mr Ronayne ended up in the river there as he never crossed the bridge to the Lee Road.

A major search operation of the north channel of the River Lee from Wellington Bridge down as far as Blackrock Castle was then mounted.

Pat O’Connell of Mallow Search and Rescue told the inquest how he found Mr Ronayne’s body during a surface search of the river at Kennedy Quay on January 22nd.


A postmortem by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster found that Mr Ronayne had a blood alcohol concentration level of 231mgs per 100mls.

She concluded that he died as a result of acute cardio-respiratory failure due to drowning.

Mr Ronayne said his son had been in good spirits and the family believed his death was “a tragic accident”.

Cork City Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane noted the evidence, but said that because there was no eye-witnesses to what happened, she had to return an open verdict.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times