A grieving mother has called for lighting and barriers to be installed at a Cork city quay where her son tragically drowned last year.
Ciaran Fitzgerald was walking home after a night out when he stumbled at Horgan’s Quay and fell into the river at high tide, causing him to drown.
The 33-year-old often took this route home and his mother, Margaret, sometimes walked there with him.
“He was out with his friends that night and on the way home, he always took a shortcut home, in fact, I’ve been in that area with him several times,” Margaret told RTÉ Radio 1’s Liveline.
On the night Ciaran died, the river was level with the ground due to the high tide. Margaret said that with no barriers and no lightning, it was lethal.
“He was walking home. He stopped to go to the loo. While he was stopped, he text his wife just to say ‘I’m nearly home’. He was maybe five minutes from home. There was a high tide. He tripped, fell in and drowned.”
His body was found by a man and his son rowing on the river some hours later.
“There was high tide the night that Ciaran drowned which means if you’re standing there you’re really on a level with the sea.
Margaret, who lives in Castlegregory, Co Kerry, learned from a senior member of the fire brigade that they are called out to the area up to five times a week.
“Lucky for some, unlucky for Ciaran, they’re able to save some of them.”
Margaret and her husband arranged a meeting with the Port of Cork, which owns the land at the quay, to request safety measure for both sides of the river in the area.
“Where Ciaran went in on Horgan’s Quay, there’s actually not even a light there. The footpath is all broken.
“They said nobody uses that area – that’s rubbish. A lot of people use that area. Homeless people sleep in that area, even. There’s no protection whatsoever.
“All they need in this area in Cork is chains [or] ropes, but there’s just nothing at all. It’s totally open.”It’s just not good enough. That area is lethal.”