Emotional appeal by mother of Limerick schoolgirl at inquest

David Hurley


David Hurley

Shirley Kinsella holds a locket with a photograph of her daughter, Chloe
THE family of Limerick schoolgirl Chloe Kinsella who drowned last year are appealing to young people to pay heed to warnings about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

THE family of Limerick schoolgirl Chloe Kinsella who drowned last year are appealing to young people to pay heed to warnings about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

The call came this Wednesday after medical evidence was heard during an inquest into the teen’s death that she had consumed toxic levels of alcohol before she drowned.

The body of the 15-year-old from Kileely was recovered from the river Shannon near Brown’s Quay shortly before midday on October 4, last.

Recording an open verdict, city coroner John McNamara said he was aware of the “great efforts” that went in to finding Chloe, who had been missing for almost a week.

“I don’t know if she fell in accidentally or intentionally and therefore the suitable and correct verdict to return is an open verdict in accordance with medical evidence,” he said.

Speaking after the inquest Chloe’s mother, Shirley, said her family’s appeal to young people to avoid alcohol had “fallen on deaf ears”.

She said she wouldn’t wish any other family to suffer the same loss as they had.

“I’m going through hell and back again and they (young people) are still drinking near my house. You are just wasting your time talking to them. I just hope to God for their own sakes they just look after themselves. I wouldn’t like anyone to got through it. I will never be right after this. I can’t believe what happened to her,” she said.

Separately, the coroner found that excessive alcohol consumption and drug use were a factor in several other sudden deaths in the city over a six month period last year.

Details of the deaths emerged as eight inquests were heard this Wednesday.

In all but one case, there was evidence that alcohol or drugs had been consumed by the deceased person.

During one inquest, Mr McNamara was told the body of a student from County Limerick was recovered from the river Shannon in the city centre last October. Evidence was heard that the young man had been socialising in the city centre, the night before his body was recovered.

Pathologist, Dr Vourneen Healy, who conducted a post-mortem examination, said the concentration of alcohol in the 21-year-old’s system was almost five times the legal limit.

“It was quite a high level within the toxic range,” she said, adding that the young man had drowned.

During another inquest, evidence was heard that a woman, whose body was found in water on the banks of the river Shannon in Thomondgate last June, had been on a three-day alcohol binge before her body was discovered by a man out walking his dog.

Again, there was medical evidence that toxic levels of alcohol were found in her system, along with low levels of prescribed medication.

The coroner was told the 53-year-old had an enlarged heart and had died as a result of a “cardiac event”, which was brought on by the shock of falling into the water.

Another inquest heard a 34-year-old man who was found dead in his room at McGarry House died after taking a variety of drugs and toxic levels of alcohol while another man had a heart attack after taking a ‘concoction of drugs’ at home.

A verdict of misadventure was recorded in the case of a 58-year-old woman, who was found dead in bed by her husband.

In that case, medical evidence showed a concentration of alcohol more than five times the legal limit and the presence of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets.