independent

Tuesday 15 October 2019

Grieving mum's pledge after quarry tragedy

MARIA PEPPER

'FROM the minute we lay him to rest I will fight to make that quarry safe. This cannot happen again. I wouldn't want anyone to go through the pain that I'm going through right now.'

Those were the heartbreaking words of the grieving mother of tragic 19-yearold Allen Murphy, who lost his life when he got into difficulty while swimming with friends Jordan Molloy (14) and Stephen Gilhooley (13) at the lake which has formed in the disused quarry on Forth Mountain.

'I had told him plenty of times to stay away from the quarry,' said Allen's mum, Mary, ' but he'd always laugh at me and tell me 'I'm a big boy', as young lads his age do.'

The spot, at Carrigfoyle Quarry on Forth Mountain, has become increasingly popular in recent years among young people, particularly during the summer months when groups can regularly be seen sunbathing and swimming there.

Wexford County Council has made some efforts to highlight the dangers of entering the water at the quarry, placing signs around the entrances saying 'no bathing' and 'no diving'. However, for Mary, these efforts have not been enough.

'It's the same old story, that it takes a tragedy for people to take action on these things. I beg people to keep their children away from there. I wouldn't wish this pain on anybody. No parent should go through what I'm going through now.'

Allen, from Pike View in Barntown, had just turned 19 in May. He had attended St. Garvan's National School in Carroreigh before moving to Colaiste Abbain in Adamstown. He then joined Youthreach in Barntown, where he completed his Leaving Cert.

Allen had hoped to go on and get a place on a welding course. He was a great mixer and enjoyed nothing more than partying with his friends.

'He really was the life and soul of every party,' said his grieving mother, 'He was a pure joker. He'd bring a smile to your face on any day no matter how you were feeling. We'd often have a few parties up here and he was just able to buzz off of people. He was just that kind of person.'

In the days since the tragic incident, tributes have poured in from across the community for the popular young man.

' The love and affection that people had for him was just astonishing. Even looking at his Facebook page and all the messages his friends have left means the world to us,' said Mary.

Barntown Parish Priest, Fr John Carroll, said, ' There's an awful lot of feeling for the family in the area. Everybody is passing on their thoughts and prayers to Allen's family. It's another tragedy and another young life lost in the Barntown area.

'Also on behalf of the family, I would like to commend the search and rescue team and all those that were involved in the operation.'

The local community at large is still in shock over Allen's untimely death. Winnie O'Keeffe, manager at O'Brien's Londis at Larkin's Cross said, 'It's terribly sad. I've known him (Allen) since he was a child. He'd be in and out to the shop the whole time. He was a lovely young chap.'

Wexford County Council have also expressed their deepest sympathies to Allen's family and have said that 'an investigation into the incident is being conducted by Council officials.'

Allen is survived by his mother Mary, brother Dara (21), grandparents Christy and Margaret, uncle Chris, cousins Emily and Sophie and numerous other relatives and friends. A funeral Mass for Allen will take place at St. Garvan's Church in Carroreigh on Friday at 10 a.m. with burial afterwards in Whitechurch Cemetery.

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