Woman who died on hen night in Carlingford didn’t really drink, says sister

‘She had tea on her 30th birthday and she was always the designated driver’

Ruth Maguire from Newcastle, Co Down, who went  missing during a hen night in  Carlingford, Co Louth, on March 16th. Photograph : Facebook

Ruth Maguire from Newcastle, Co Down, who went missing during a hen night in Carlingford, Co Louth, on March 16th. Photograph : Facebook

 

The sister of a mother of three who died while on a hen night in Co Louth earlier this month has said her sister who lost her life didn’t really drink.

The body of 30-year-old Ruth Maguire, a health assistant from Newcastle, Co Down, was recovered from Carlingford Lough after she went missing during the hen night celebrations on March 16th. She was due to marry her partner in August and was attending the hen night of a friend.

Rachel Wilkinson, Ms Maguire’s sister, said her sister’s decision to attend the hen party was quite unusual as she rarely went out with friends.

“She didn’t really drink, she had tea on her 30th birthday and she was always the designated driver. This was a rare occasion when she had a few drinks. She wasn’t even having a hen party for herself,” she said.

Ms Wilkinson said the family immediately knew something was wrong when they discovered Ms Maguire had not arrived home with friends on the night of the hen. “It was so out of character, she wouldn’t have ever gone to a party somewhere else or she wouldn’t have met up with a different crowd. She was a home bird, she just would have just wanted to go home,” she told RTÉ’s Sunday with Miriam programme.

It emerged that Ms Maguire had taken a photograph outside a house that is across the road from Carlingford Lough and posted it to Instagram at about midnight on the Saturday of the hen party. As a result, searches began of the shore line and the lough itself. At about 1.30pm on Monday March 18th, Ms Maguire’s body was spotted in the water between Carlingford Harbour and Greenore.

“We don’t know exactly what happened because there’s no CCTV down towards the water,” said Ms Wilkinson. “We know she was at that door, the lough was directly opposite and she ended up in the water but we may never know exactly how she ended up in the water.”

Safety barriers

Ms Wilkinson called for safety barriers to be erected near the pier at Carlingford Lough. She said the family are eager to see barriers erected in the area, adding that it would not be impractical to cordon off the area at night.

Flowers placed at Carlingford Lough in memory of Ruth Maguire whose body was recovered there earlier this month after she went missing on hen night. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins
Flowers placed at Carlingford Lough in memory of Ruth Maguire whose body was recovered there earlier this month after she went missing on hen night. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

“The emergency services are totally in agreement with us,” she said.

But they have been told they would have to wait until after the inquest which could be next year. “In the interim this could happen again. This could be somebody else’s sister or daughter. We would feel we have let Ruth down if we let this sit for at least another nine months.”

Ms Wilkinson said the family are still in shock following her sister’s death and focused on supporting Ms Maguire’s partner and three children.

“She was the baby of the family, she was fun and she was a great mum. She was completely devoted to the children. She had children very young so she was always quite sensible.”

After visiting the Co Louth site, the family all agreed that the lack of barriers by the water could lead to further deaths. “Even so much as a child could run out chasing a ball, there’s no barrier whatsoever. There’s a road that leads to the pier and even that’s quite open, there’s a lot of young ones go down with too many drinks down there, this could easily happen again.

“It’s such a great town, a lovely town, there’s a real fun atmosphere but a lot of teenagers and older ones drinking too much. If the barrier isn’t there in our minds it will happen again.”