'Life is more important than money': Family of woman who fell from pier and drowned call for handrail

The family of a woman who drowned after going into Carlingford Lough in Co Louth has called for a handrail or other safety measures to be installed at the harbour in the village.

'Life is more important than money': Family of woman who fell from pier and drowned call for handrail

The family of a woman who drowned after going into Carlingford Lough in Co Louth has called for a handrail or other safety measures to be installed at the harbour in the village.

The Coroner said he will contact Louth County Council and ask them to examine the feasibility of putting in a guard rail.

The inquest into the death of Ruth Maguire, 30, from Newcastle, Co Down heard she was part of a hen party of 30 that had travelled from Belfast and had booked to stay the weekend in the popular village over St Patrick’s weekend.

The mother of three had spoken about going home to Newcastle when she left the premises the group was in at around 11.30pm.

She took a photograph outside a house across from the pier and posted it to Instagram at midnight. It is believed she fell off the pier a short time later.

Her partner, James Griffin, who she was due to marry last August, discovered she had rung him on his work phone at six minutes past midnight when he switched it back on two weeks later.

The inquest heard that the alarm was raised the next day and extensive searches took place.

The crew of the all-weather RNLI lifeboat at Newcastle was tasked to assist and the inquest heard a crew member spotted Ms Maguire’s body on Blockhouse Island in Carlingford Lough on March 18.

Her mother, Geraldine Worthington, said during the inquest, in Dundalk courthouse, that she would like to see something done about the harbour. She said it is totally unsafe and there is a big massive drop and it is wide open.

She said money is made by people coming from all over Ireland and drinking far more than they should be.

She said they have heard of another man who was on a stag and had fallen in and was rescued by his friends.

In response to the Coroner, Ronan Maguire, the Gardai said there are no warning signs.

Ms Worthington also said it is possible to drive onto the pier and that piers like that are unsafe.

Geraldine Worthington at the inquest.  Picture: Ciara Wilkinson
Geraldine Worthington at the inquest. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson

She also said the ground is uneven and people can trip on it.

She said she knows that ‘everything is about money but life is more important than money'.

Mr Maguire said it is not known exactly what happened and he returned an Open verdict in keeping with the medical evidence that Ruth had drowned.

He said he will contact Louth County Council and ask them to examine the feasibility of putting in a guard rail at the harbour in Carlingford.

Speaking afterwards, her mother welcomed the Coroner saying he will raise the matter with the county council: “We are very happy about that, we knew he could make recommendations and we are very glad he is prepared to do it and he sees a need to do it.”

She said the family will also be approaching the county council over the issue.

“It is an uneven surface, anybody could trip and fall in during the day, you don’t have to be drunk or anything else, it is a massive drop down, they need to put at least a rail up or even lights so someone knows they are leaving the road and going to a harbour.”

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