'Hero' Bernard Geasley drowned trying to rescue another man from the River Lee

'Hero' Bernard Geasley drowned trying to rescue another man from the River Lee
Bernard Geasley who died in a swimming accident on the River Lee at Ballincollig

The man who drowned in the River Lee while going to the rescue of another has been described as a hero in the community.

Bernard Geasley, 38, of Innishmore in Ballincollig, tragically lost his life after he entered the water at Ballincollig Regional Park in a bid to save another man from the strong current of the river.

The incident happened at approximately 8.30pm on Sunday evening. Cork City Search and Rescue, Mallow Search and Rescue, the Coast Gaurd, Ballincollig Fire Service, and An Garda Síochána attended the scene.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the emergency services, Mr Geasley’s body was recovered from the river at approximately 12.30am.

Councillor Colm Kelleher, from Ballincollig, described Bernard as having a “heart of gold". 

Lord rest his soul. He would have been the same age as my brother and they would have been friends as children. He was a lovely man. It’s horrible what happened to him.

The Fianna Fáil councillor described the area of the river as treacherous and said he put in a request for additional signage warning people of the danger.

“The area where they were would be a notoriously dangerous spot," he said. 


"Especially since the weir collapsed in 2014. It has changed the currents on the river and can be very deceiving at times.

“We all would have gone swimming there as children. Unfortunately, it got the better of Bernard, and he lost his life. It’s a tragic day for the village,” Cllr Kelleher added.

Bernard has been described locally as a hero for his actions.

Councillor Derry Canty, who has been a councillor in the area for the past 28 years, says there has been a number of near-misses in the area in recent times.

“Since the weir collapsed, the water comes down from the dam so fast," he said. "When the weir was there, it did something to stop the flow. Without it has become even more dangerous. It creates dangerous currents and whirlpools and unfortunately now, someone has lost their life,” said Cllr Canty.

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and to the man’s brother. It is a very sad day for the area.” 

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána confirmed that they are treating the incident as a tragic accident.

“Garda and emergency services attended the scene of a fatal drowning incident that occurred in the Ballincollig Regional Park area at approximately 8:30pm,” the spokesperson said.

“A man, aged in his 40s, was taken from the water after getting into difficulty and was later pronounced dead at the scene. The local coroner’s office has been notified. The man’s remains were removed to Cork University Hospital. Investigations are ongoing.”

Meanwhile, Irish Water Safety,  (IWS) issued a warning for people to exercise care near lakes, rivers, streams and sea areas over the August Bank Holiday weekend. 

Over 100 people drowned in Ireland last year.

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