Siblings who died in tragic Kerry drowning named locally
A heartbreaking tragedy.
The siblings who died in the Ballybunion beach drowning tragedy have been named.
The brother has been identified as Desmond Byrne, 50, and the sister has been identified as Muriel Eriksson, 62.
Multiple reports state that Desmond and Muriel were on their holiday in Kerry when they both got into difficulty swimming off of Ballybunion beach.
The tragic incident happened on Thursday evening.
Emergency services managed to remove them both from the water, but the two were pronounced dead a short time later.
It is understood that the tragedy unfolded in front of Mr. Byrne's son, according to various reports.
Multiple outlets also state that Mr. Byrne's sister was visiting him from her home in Malmo in Sweden.
Meanwhile, he is said to be originally from Athlone but was living in Lecarrow in Roscommon with his family.
Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday, local residents described their shock and upset following the tragedy.
"I was honestly shocked – I know it's a basic thing to say but very, very shocked," said one man. "Those families must be crushed."
"Silence came over everyone – we were all looking at each other and shaking our heads," recalled one woman. "It's very upsetting. It's very hard but obviously, it's harder for the family – they have to face that loss now."
Westmeath Fianna Fail Councillor Aengus O'Rourke also wrote: "Very saddened to hear the awful news about local man Dessie Byrne and his sister Muriel following the drowning incident in Ballybunnion yesterday evening.
"My deepest condolences to Dessie's family and friends - all of whom I know well.
"The people of Athlone, in particular Baylough and Lecarrow, are all reeling at this awful news. May they both rest in peace."
A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána told JOE that the incident is being treated as a tragic accident.
Post-mortem examinations are set to be carried out in due course.