A Ballybunian drowning victim has been described as a valued member of the community. | Pro IQRA News

Pro IQRA News Updates.

Ballybunin drowning victim Desmond Byrne has been described as a fit and active man who was a valued member of the community.

Noel Galvin, chairman of Lecarrow Lazers Cycling Club – of which Mr Byrne was a member – told RTÉ Radio’s News at One that Mr Byrne often took part in charity cycles and was always available to help the club.

“He is well-liked in the club and in the area. He will be missed. He was very active in the parish and always helped out in some way.

Mr Galvin added that his friend ran his own carpet fitting business which ran throughout the Midlands.

He said news of the tragedy traveled quickly through the small community Thursday night with a central reaction of shock and horror. “It was terrible news to receive.”

“Lecaro is known to rally together and we will rally around the family.”

People were finding it difficult to understand what had happened. “It was terrible to hear the news.”

Mr. Galvin extended his condolences to Byrne’s family and Mr. Byrne’s wide circle of friends. “We will be there for them.”

Post mortem

Post-mortem examinations are due to take place after a brother and sister are suspected to have drowned on Ballybonin Beach, Co Kerry.

Emergency services were called to the beach on Thursday evening after reports of a man in distress in the water.

It is understood the alarm was raised by a relative of the teenager.

Gardaí confirmed that a man (50) and a woman (62) were pronounced dead at the scene after being pulled from the water. They were brother and sister.

The man had an address in Co Roscommon, while the woman had an address in Malmö, Sweden.

Their bodies were removed from the scene by ambulance and taken to the mortuary at University Hospital Cary in Tralee.

The Irish Coast Guard, Ballybunian Community Rescue Boat Ireland and Kilrush RNLI were involved in the operation.

In a statement, the Irish Coastguard said the Valentia Coastguard received a report shortly after 5pm that a man was in difficulty off Ballybunin.

“A full-scale search and rescue operation was launched with Coastguard helicopter R115 based at Shannon, Ballybunian Community Rescue Boat Ireland and Kilrush RNLI,” the statement said.

“A short time later, a second person was pulled from the water by the Ballybunian Community Rescue Boat Ireland.

“The man and woman were pronounced dead at the scene. The search was called off after it was confirmed that no one else was missing.

“The Coast Guard extends its condolences to the families of both casualties.”

‘Terrible Tragedy’

Local Sinn Féin councilor Robert Beasley said the community had been left in shock after the “horrific tragedy”.

The councillor, who lives near the Ballybunian beach, told the PA: “There were a lot of people on the beach at the time, maybe 600 people or 700 people.

“I met many people on the top of the mountain and when they found out what was happening men, women and children were going in their caravans and they were in terrible distress.

“An hour and a half ago, when I passed by, people were happy, building sand castles and generally having fun on the beach.

“Two deaths on the water in a matter of minutes. It’s terrible – a terrible tragedy. People are shocked beyond belief.”

Mr Beasley offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved family.