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Dublin: 4°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

'There was peer-pressure involved': Father of drowned son speaks out on his loss

Irish Water Safety are calling on the public to take greater care when swimming.

Posted by on Wednesday, 14 April 2021

ON 11 JUNE last year Caolán Seoige Webster drowned in the River Shannon.

“We got a call then that he had drowned,” says his father Seán.

“My first thing was ‘I’ll kill him when he gets home.’

We couldn’t understand because we’d always look at something like this happening to someone else. Stuff like this doesn’t happen to us. 

His 15-year-old son was one of the 137 people that drown each year in Ireland.

Irish Water Safety is using Seán’s video to remind people of the dangers associated with water.

“Many people who drown can actually swim,” said Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Irish Water Safety.

So being aware of factors such as cold water shock and dangers that can lurk beneath the water are just as important as learning to swim.

For Seán, the circumstances around his son’s death are still not totally clear.

What he does know is that Caolán was around 10 feet either from the bank of the river or from a jetty when he drowned, and that the water was probably around 6 degrees – which would have been cold enough to send his body into shock.

We don’t know for definite what the whole story is. We know there was peer-pressure involved. I can’t really stress how dangerous water is. Especially for kids.

To try and stop drownings Irish Water Safety is pushing a campaign to change the way that children learn about water safety.

As part of it, they want to create a “cultural shift that builds children’s safety consciousness” around water, rather than “instilling an unhealthy fear of water”.

In the past 10 years, the organisation has said that 37 children drowned in Ireland’s waters.

Here is a full guide on what you can be doing to keep yourself safe around water this summer.

Read: Some important and timely advice from the ESB – don’t swim in reservoirs

Also: People had to be stopped jumping off a bridge on the M50 today

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