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We can't let our kids play outside; RIVER DEATH HORROR; PARENTS' FEAR.


PARENTS at a ghost estate where a child drowned last weekend insisted it's not safe to let their kids play outside.

James Casey Butler was with friends at Tir Cluain estate in Midleton, Co Cork, when he went through a broken fence and gained access to a nearby river bank.

The Owenacurra River is normally a shallow stream but on Saturday it was overflowing due to torrential rain.

He was playing with other children when he lost his footing and fell in.

His pal nine-year-old Oisin Shanahan raced across a green to raise the alarm.

James lost his battle for life in Our Lady's Children Hospital in Dublin late on Sunday night with his family by his bedside.

Oisin's dad John, who rang the emergency services, hit out at Flemings Construction, the estate's developers who are now owned by Nama.

The father of six said: "A proper child-proof barrier needs to be erected. It would be a small price to pay.

"They are doing it on the cheap - but it is too late now. These houses sold for [euro]300,000 back in the boom and a third of a price of one of these houses would be [euro]100,000.

"They'd get a very good barrier for that and a life would have been saved - the fence cost a life.

"Our biggest fear is another life being lost - my wife Shirley will never leave them out there unsupervised again."

Andrea O'Sullivan, a mum of two young children, spoke of her anger and said that the horrific tragedy could have been averted.

She added: "I am shocked, sick and mad about what happened.

"We're angry at the fact that it is so easily accessible to kids. It is so easy and breakable and accessible it should have never come to this."

Andrea said that all of the children in the estate have not been left outside to play since the horrific events of Saturday night.

She added: "The kids are all together and they are grieving together - we will not let them outside the door.

"We want whoever is in charge of this estate to come and meet us and tell us about how they are going to stop this happening again.

"We are not asking them to admit liability. All we want is them to do something that makes sure that this never happens again.

"We have a river but we have no safety - there are no life belts, no proper fencing."

Flemings were unavailable for comment yesterday while Nama and Cork County Council refused to comment.

Flemings' court-appointed receiver Baker, Tilly, Ryan, Glennon released a short statement last night.

A spokesman said: "The receiver of Flemings Construction Company are looking into all aspects of this tragedy and are fully engaged with all authorities."

Bishop of Cloyne William Crean said he was deeply saddened to learn of the boy's death.

He added: "My heart goes out to all concerned - to the parents of James, to his extended family, relatives, friends and to the community of Midleton parish."

Yesterday grieving children accompanied their parents to the site where tragic little James' body was pulled from the river.

They prayed and laid flowers with simple card inscriptions. One read "We will never forget you James".

Residents pointed yesterday to the gap where James walked to his death - their grief overtaken by a deep sense of anger that there is no safety equipment.

It's not known when James will be buried but it is expected his body will be released to his family later today.

We want whoever is in charge to tell us how they'll stop this happening ANDREA O'SULLIVAN


MUCH LOVED James Casey Butler with his mum Edel

DANGER James fell into Owenacurra River
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 26, 2013
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