Complaints about the condition of horses on land near where a teenage boy died at the weekend prompted investigations last year, it has emerged.
Eric Stanton, 15, died after he was thrown from his horse into the Glashaboy River at Glanmire, Co Cork, on Saturday evening. He had been riding horses with friends along the riverbank on land behind the site of the former John Barleycorn Inn Hotel when the accident occurred.
Locals paid tribute to a well-liked pupil of Mayfield Community School who loved ponies and was a promising boxer.
Eric’s parents and six siblings, from Avonmore Park in Mayfield, are being comforted by relatives.
The alarm was raised at about 6.30pm on Saturday, and Glanmire gardaí — along with units from the Cork City and Midleton fire brigades — rushed to the scene to search for the teenager in what were described as “extremely testing” conditions.
Access to the site proved difficult, and the search focused on the area where the Glashaboy and Butlerstown rivers meet, and where the currents are strong.
An Irish Coast Guard helicopter with heat-seeking equipment was also tasked as the light was fading, and a number of the city fire brigade’s swiftwater rescue technicians entered the river.
The firefighters, working with search lamps, found Eric close to where he had been seen last, but he had been submerged in about 5m of water for up to 40 minutes.
The emergency services and Dr Hugh Doran administered life support at the scene before Eric was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital, where he later passed away.
It has since emerged that locals aired concerns about the horses on land behind the former John Barleycorn Inn Hotel with a number of authorities in March of last year.
One complainant expressed concerns for the access to the horses, and the security of the gate in to the land.
It is understood, however, that both animal charities and Cork County Council were powerless to intervene as the horses were on private land and not deemed to be in a state of neglect. Gardaí were also contacted, as were local representatives.
Five horses remained on the land yesterday afternoon.
Eric’s friends took to social media to express their shock and sadness at his passing.
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