Teenager dies after suspected drugs overdose at Cork music festival

Jack Downey (19) from Clonmel fell ill at Indiependence on Friday

The 19-year-old man from the Clonmel area in South Tipperary died in Cork University Hospital (CUH) on Sunday afternoon.  Photograph: Google Street View

The 19-year-old man from the Clonmel area in South Tipperary died in Cork University Hospital (CUH) on Sunday afternoon. Photograph: Google Street View

 

A teenager who took ill after a suspected drugs overdose at the Indiependence music festival in North Cork over the weekend, has died in hospital.

Jack Downey (19) from the Clonmel area in South Tipperary died in Cork University Hospital (CUH) on Sunday afternoon.

On Friday he was with friends at the Indiependence festival in Mitchelstown when he started to feel unwell at about 4.30pm .

His friends brought him to the medical tent at the festival and medical staff became concerned and notified the emergency services . He was taken by ambulance to Cork University Hospital.

The former pupil of High School CBS in Clonmel had just completed first year at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). He had been on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit at CUH where his parents, John and Elaine Downey, had maintained a bedside vigil since his admission on Friday.

But Jack, an only child, was taken off the ventilator on Sunday and passed away at CUH at about 4pm with his father, who is a garda based in Clonmel, and his mother, who works in a local jeweller’s shop in the town, by his bedside.

Clonmel Og GAA paid tribute this afternoon to their club member. “Our worst fears were realised this afternoon with the news that Jack Downey passed away in the company of his parents,” said Clonmel Og in a post on its Facebook page this afternoon.

“We are devastated and will have more to say in time. The mass this evening goes ahead and all are welcome. At a time like this we need to be strong and there for each other.”

Local curate, Fr Michael Toomey of St Peter’s and Paul’s Church echoed the sentiments in a tweet after news broke of the tragedy. “We all have a tough few days ahead of us in Clonmel. Let’s look out for one another,” tweeted Fr Toomey.

Meanwhile gardaí have begun an investigation into how the teenager took ill. They established that he ingested what he believed was MDMA or ecstasy about a hour before he began to feel unwell.

Gardaí believe that the substance was a particularly potent form of the drug and while they have established that others also took it, they did not have the same reaction to the teenager who took ill.

Officers have spoken to others at the festival who took the drug, in an attempt to identify the source of the drug. Although they have yet to make any arrests, they say they have been made good progress.