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Tragic death Teen killed in Kerry cliff fall named as Galway native James Harrison


Valentia RNLI attended the scene of the tragedy

Valentia RNLI attended the scene of the tragedy

Valentia RNLI/Facebook

Valentia RNLI attended the scene of the tragedy

A tragic teen (17) who died after falling off a cliff while walking with his parents in Dingle, Kerry yesterday afternoon has been named as James Harrison.

The youngster from Salthill in Galway was walking with his parents at Bull’s Head at Lispole in the Dingle Peninsula when he slipped and fell.

The horrific accident happened at around 1.30pm in cold but sunny weather conditions.

Emergency services responded to the family’s calls for help and the Coast Guard, the RNLI and local Cliff Rescue were quickly on the scene along with gardai from west Kerry.

Valentia Coast Guard tasked Shannon Rescue Helicopter 115, Valentia Lifeboat and Dingle Coast Guard to attend at the scene.

They managed to retrieve the body at around 3pm. Access to the spot where James had fallen proved to be a challenge because of the lack of access and the difficult terrain.

James was pronounced dead at the scene and his body was taken to Dingle, before being removed to University Hospital Kerry where a post mortem examination will be carried out.

Gardai are treating the death as a tragic accident and will be preparing a file for the local coroner.

James is the son of Máire and Matthew and brother of Daniel and Aoife.

He was a student at Coláiste Iognáid and played football with the Salthill/Knocknacarra GAA club and soccer with Knocknacarra FC.

In statement released on Facebook, Cumann Salthill Knocknacarra has said “Everyone is deeply saddened… at the loss of our minor star James Harrison.”

James Harrison Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

Posted by Salthill Knocknacarra GAA Club on Sunday, January 3, 2021

Meanwhile, Knocknacarra FC shared a statement saying the club were “devastated to hear of the untimely passing of one of our boys.”

Both clubs have expressed their condolences with James’ family and friends.

Valentia RNLI also expressed condolences, saying: "Our volunteer lifeboat crew launched this afternoon to a incident off Bull Head, Dingle.

"The thoughts of everyone at Valentia RNLI are with the family at this sad time."

A local Kerry councillor suggested people light a candle for James and his family “during this very tough time".

Breandán Fitzgerald, a Fianna Fáil councillor based in Dingle, and a member of Kerry County Council, told Newstalk Breakfast the community is in shock.

"Yesterday was such a beautiful, glorious day to be out and about - from what I know the family had went for a walk together as a family and this tragic accident happened.

"Such a young life with some amazing promise, and all those wonderful great adventures yet to begin, and then for this to happen.

"It's devastating, the whole community is in shock".

Councillor Fitzgerald said the cliff walk is well-known.

"It's quite a doable walk... the boy's parents, grandparents I suppose would be from living in the area - so I'm sure he probably had done that walk hundreds of times before with his mom and dad and his family

"It's just such terrible news, heart-breaking for his family,” he added. “All our thoughts and prayers are with the young man's family and friends.”

He suggested people could "light a candle for this young man and his family, and keep them in our thoughts and prayers during this very tough time".

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