Heart of gold | 

Tragic Gillian Daly who died after car plunged into Cork river hailed as 'adoring mother'

Gillian Daly (44) died after the car carrying herself and two children, aged 10 and 11 years, entered the River Lee

Gillian Daly

Ralph Riegel

A woman who died after a car carrying herself and two children plunged into a Cork river has been hailed as an adoring mother and a person with a heart of gold.

Gillian Daly (44) died after the car carrying herself and two children, aged 10 and 11 years, entered the River Lee at Cork's Kennedy Quay shortly after 8pm on Friday evening.

Miraculously, the two children were able to escape the car and swim to the quayside where they were dragged to safety by onlookers.

However the 44-year-old was trapped in the vehicle and drowned after it sank just minutes before high tide along the city quays.

Gardaí have launched a full investigation into what they are treating as a tragic accident.

Gillian is survived by her husband, John, children, parents, John Joe and Helen, her siblings and parents-in-law, Martin and Eileen.

She was originally from Millstreet but had been living over recent years in Douglas.

She will be lying in repose at Martin and Eileen's residence in Kinsale on Monday evening.

Her Requiem Mass will take place at 11am on Tuesday at St Patrick's Church in Millstreet.

She will be buried afterwards at St Eltin's Cemetery in Kinsale.

Gardaí said their investigation into the tragedy will hinge on forensic and technical evidence as well as eye witness statements.

Both children were given preliminary medical treatment at the scene and were then taken to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for precautionary medical assessment of non-life threatening injuries.

They were treated for shock but were later discharged into the care of a family member.

Both will be brought to their south city home to recover from their ordeal.

However, while both were deeply shocked, they had not suffered any serious injury.

The car sank minutes after entering the water as shocked onlookers ran to help.

The woman, who was the driver, was trapped in the vehicle as it sank.

A huge search and rescue operation was launched which involved the Gardaí, Cork Fire Brigade, HSE paramedics, Coast Guard, Naval Service, Cork River Rescue and Mallow Search and Rescue.

A number of pedestrians who were in the area also raced to help.

The operation was coordinated by the Coast Guard's Sikorsky Rescue 117 helicopter which hovered overhead to use its specialist search cameras.

The incident occurred shortly after 8pm when high tide had almost reached its peak along the upper city quays.

After an assessment of the scene, Naval Service divers were able to enter the water shortly after 10pm.

They were able to locate the body of the woman and it was successfully recovered from the water.

Special lifting cables were attached to the car and it was removed from the water by a heavy lift crane which had been brought to the scene at 12.45am on Saturday.

One garda source said that the nature of their investigation will be determined by technical and forensic evidence as well as eye-witness statements.

Emergency services at the scene where the car went into the River Lee

Gardaí are checking indications that the vehicle had stopped on the quay moments before the tragedy before suddenly jolting into the river.

Officers are also investigating reports that the vehicle may have toppled over the open quay while reversing.

A full examination of the car involved will now be conducted by a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) expert.

Gardaí will also study CCTV security camera footage from around the area to determine the precise movements of the vehicle involved in the minutes leading up to the accident.

It is understood the woman and the children had been in a city restaurant for a meal in the hours before the incident.

Gardaí said they are treating the matter as a tragic accident, with a report on the matter set to be compiled for the Cork City Coroner.

Detectives have appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident or who may have been in the area around 8pm on Friday evening and whose vehicles are equipped with dash-camera footage to contact them to assist their investigation.

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