Feature, Outdoor, Transport

Lack of lighting in port ‘led to drowning’

The unprotected – and unlit – quayside at Horgan’s Quay in the Port of Cork, Ireland. The grieving mother of 33-year-old Ciaran Fitzgerald has called for barriers and better lighting.

THE LACK OF lighting at an Irish port was partially responsible for the death of a young man, says his mother.

Margaret Fitzgerald has called for adequate lighting to be installed at the quayside where her 33-year-old son Ciaran died last year.

The parents of Ciaran Fitzgerald met with the management of Port of Cork, which owns the land at the quay, to request safety measures such as adequate illumination.
Pic: Veronica Aguilar via Flickrmedia Commons 2010

There was a high tide on the night he died, and the river was level with the quayside. Margaret Fitzgerald said that with no lighting and no barriers, the area was effectively lethal.

Ciaran Fitzgerald appears to have tripped, falling into the water where he drowned. His body was discovered by rowers.

Margaret and her husband met with the management of Port of Cork, which owns the land at the quay, to request safety measures for both sides of the river in the area.

‘Where Ciaran went in on Horgan’s Quay, there’s actually not even a light there,’ Mrs Fitzgerald told RTE, Irish national radio.

‘They said nobody uses that area – that’s rubbish. A lot of people use that area. Homeless people sleep in that area, even. There’s no protection whatsoever.’

The death of Ciaran Fitzgerald echoes that of Caspar Blackburn, a 22-year-old who, last October, fell into the Bridgewater Canal in Manchester and drowned.

In April, a coroner blamed the ‘poor lighting’ on the canal towpath.

The lighting of the stretch of the canal where the tragedy occurred was ‘poor’ and it is difficult to see the edge of the water at night. Coroner Rachel Galloway told the court that Caspar had ‘died from the recognised complications of accidentally entering the canal contributed by very poor lighting’.


  • The Safer Cities conference is one of a range of events taking place as part of the LuxLive 2018 exhibition at London ExCeL. The show is open on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. See the full programme HERE.