Double tragedy | 

Mourners to form special guards of honour at Kerry drowning victims’ joint funeral

Desmond ‘Dessie’ Byrne (52) drowned alongside his adored 62-year-old Swedish-based sister, Muriel Eriksson.

Desmond Byrne (52) died trying to save his sister, Muriel

Muriel Eriksson had been living in Sweden

Ralph RiegelIndependent.ie

Special guards of honour by sporting and community groups will be provided at the joint funeral of a heroic brother who died alongside the sister he desperately tried to save from the sea off Kerry last week.

Desmond ‘Dessie’ Byrne (52) drowned alongside his adored 62-year-old Swedish-based sister, Muriel Eriksson.

His teenage son was on Ballybunion beach at the time and it is feared he may have witnessed part of the heart-breaking incident unfold last Thursday.

The double tragedy – the worst drowning incident in Kerry for over 30 years – shocked Ireland and renewed pleas for greater awareness of water safety.

Special pleas for people to be careful in Ireland’s seas, rivers and lakes were issued by the Coast Guard and Water Safety Ireland as the country prepares to bask in a week-long mini-heatwave with temperatures set to climb to 28 degrees.

Mr Byrne will repose alongside his beloved sister, Muriel, at his Lecarrow home in Roscommon this afternoon.

His remains will then be taken to St John’s Church in Lecarrow tomorrow morning for 12 noon for a joint requiem mass.

Mr Byrne’s burial will then take place at the local cemetery.

Mrs Eriksson’s remains will be cremated at Lakelands Crematorium in Cavan on Wednesday afternoon.

Muriel Eriksson had been living in Sweden

The father of two was deeply involved in sporting and community groups in the Roscommon-Westmeath area, particularly the Lecarrow Lazers Cycle Club.

Special guards of honour will be formed at the requiem mass as a mark of respect for the carpenter and the entire Byrne family.

Friends and family of Muriel Eriksson, who had been based in Sweden for years, are flying into Ireland from Malmo to offer their support to her heartbroken family.

Mr Byrne is survived by his devastated partner, Paulette, his sons Dean and Josh, Paulette’s daughter, Regina, and her sons, Blake and Jace.

He is also survived by his brothers Kenny, Donal, Justin and Colm, brother-in-law, Kris, who is based in Sweden, sisters-in-law, Maggie and Nong, as well as aunts, uncles and cousins.

Gardaí are treating the double tragedy on Thursday as a freak accident – but have appealed for anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact them as they prepare a file for a Kerry coroner’s inquest expected to be held next year.

Mr Byrne, who is originally from Athlone, has been based in Lecarrow in Roscommon for many years where he worked as a carpenter and carpet layer.

His older sister had been married and living in Malmo in Sweden in recent years but maintained very close links to Ireland.

She was very close to her younger brother and the pair would regularly enjoy short Irish breaks while she was home from Sweden.

The siblings were on a brief holiday in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, with Mr Byrne’s youngest son, Josh, when the tragedy occurred.

It is understood that the family group had only arrived in Ballybunion days before the tragedy.

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