Irish PM offers condolences after Kerry drownings

The pair got into difficulty in waters near Ballybunion beach in County Kerry.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,

Irish police said following initial enquiries, the incident was being treated as a tragic accident

  • Published

The Taoiseach (Irish PM) has offered his condolences to the families of a brother and sister who died in a drowning incident in County Kerry.

They have been named locally as 50-year-old Desmond Byrne, a married father of two, and his 62-year-old sister Muriel Eriksson.

Gardaí (Irish police) were alerted at 18:00 local time after the pair got into difficulty in the water at Ballybunion beach.

They were taken from the water but were pronounced dead a short time later.

Gardaí said following initial enquiries, the incident was being treated as a tragic accident.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "We're all deeply shocked and saddened at this very tragic and heartbreaking loss of life on what was a beautiful day.

"I want to extend my sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those who lost their lives, particularly to those family members who were present and who witnessed this heartbreaking tragedy."

The taoiseach also paid tribute to the first responders and emergency services.

"It reminds us all of how treacherous the seas and oceans can be," he added.

The search involved the Irish Coast Guard, initiated by the Maritime Coordination Centre at Valentia Island.

Irish Coast Guard operations manager Michael O'Toole said it was understood the man and woman were involved in swimming-based activities.

He told RTÉ's Morning Ireland: "Unfortunately there was a tragic outcome to the operation... our thoughts must be with the family and friends of those affected by this incident".

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