Two children lost their lives in separate drowning tragedies in Dublin and Cavan in the space of just a few hours yesterday.
Dublin’s Blanchardstown and Tyrrelstown areas were left reeling after the tragic death yesterday morning of five-year-old Ahmed Bari, who drowned in the lake in Tyrrelstown Park after wandering away from his home nearby.
It is not clear how the little boy, who had autism, made his way to the lake alone. He was reported missing from his home at about 9.15am, sparking a massive search, but he was found by a walker face- down in the water about an hour later.
Then at about 3pm, a 16-year-old boy got into difficulty while swimming in a lake in Killykeen Forest Park near Cavan town.
The boy, named locally as Jonathan Mongan, was recovered from the water and taken to Cavan General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Gardaí said an autopsy will be carried out shortly.
Ahmed’s death in Tyrrelstown came just two days after the funeral of 13-year-old Ricky Osagie who drowned in the lake at Waterville Park near his home in Warrenstown, Blanchardstown, when he went to the aid of a girl struggling in the water.
Both lakes are man- made and located in public parks managed by Fingal County Council which was yesterday urged to either put better protections in place at the amenities or drain them.
Tyrrelstown resident, Charlie Cleary, chairman of the local GAA club, was vocal in objecting to the lake in Tyrrelstown Park before its opening last year.
“I highlighted how dangerous it was because there was no guard rail around it and no supervision on it. It was an accident waiting to happen and now it has happened,” he said.
Local councillor Edmund Lukusa said he would call on Fingal County Council to investigate the deaths.
However, Mr Cleary said the council needed to act immediately, particularly on the Tyrrelstown lake which he said was the only amenity for local children and would be a constant draw during the school holidays.
“They should fence off the whole lot, put gates on the park and put a park warden on it full time. If they can’t do that, then they need to get rid of it. It’s not worth having if it puts children at risk.”
When concerns were raised last year, Fingal County Council said in a statement: “Recent comments regarding the safety of the lake are simply untrue. It has been built to the highest possible standard and does not require a handrail.”
A spokeswoman for the council said yesterday it would be inappropriate to comment on the tragedies other than to express sympathies with the families.
However, she said the council was very safety conscious regarding all water-based amenities under its control. “We have inland waterways, canals, lakes, man-made lakes, and beaches and we take every precaution to ensure that the public have a safe environment to enjoy.”
Signs at the Waterville and Tyrrelstown lakes warn against swimming and there are lifebuoys, but both are completely open.
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