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Sister of hen night tragedy victim Ruth Maguire calls for barriers at Carlingford

Rachel Wilkinson, left, pictured with her sister Ruth Maguire, who died while celebrating a hen party in Carlingford last month
Gareth McKeown

THE sister of a Co Down mother-of-three who died while celebrating a hen party in Carlingford has called for safety barriers to be placed around the lough where her body was found.

Ruth Maguire, who was originally from Ligoniel in north Belfast but lived in Newcastle, was reported missing on her friend’s hen night in the early hours of March 17. Her body was recovered from the water between Carlingford and Greenore the following day.

Speaking to the RTÉ Radio 1 show Sunday with Miriam on Mother's Day, Rachel Wilkinson called for safety barriers to be placed around the water side in the Co Louth town.

"We went down for the candlelight vigil and all the family said it's so open," she said.

"A child could run out chasing a ball or something. There's no barrier whatsoever. There's a road that leads to the pier and even that's quite open. A gust of wind and a child is in the water."

Louth county councillor Antóin Watters has called for a safety audit of Carlingford pier to be carried out after being told by emergency services that lighting, CCTV and a barrier need to be installed along the pier.

Ms Wilkinson has welcomed the potential development but expressed concerns that changes might not take place until after her sister's inquest, which could be held next year.

"In the interim this could happen to another family," she said.

"This could be somebody else's sister, somebody else's daughter. It is so sad they're going to wait until after. It's fairly obvious what happened. Ruth ended up in the water and you know it can't happen again.

"We would feel we've let Ruth down if we just let this sit for at least another nine months or whatever.

"It's a lovely town and there's a real fun atmosphere but there are a lot of teenagers, older ones drinking too much and if the barrier isn't there in our minds it will happen again," she said.

Ms Wilkinson said the family are still coming to terms with Ruth's death and are trying to rally round her fiancé James Griffin and three children.

"I think shock is the main emotion at the moment. We're just trying to help each other," she said.

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