Investigation on-going after toddler's death on unfinished Athlone estate

Workers fixing fences around the Glenatore development outside Athlone, Co Westmeath were a toddler was found dead in a pool of water. Picture: Hany Marzouk

Gardaí and the HSE are continuing to investigate the death of a toddler on an unfinished housing estate in Athlone yesterday.

The two-and-a-half year old boy drowned in a pool of water on the Glenatore estate in Co Westmeath having apparently squeezed through a gap in a mesh fence.

It is understood he was following his pet dog.

The child’s mother raised the alarm shortly after midday yesterday.

It is understood neighbours helped her search for her young son, who was discovered in a small pool of water adjacent to a drain area a short time later.

He was brought to Portiuncula Hospital in Balliansloe, but attempts to resuscitate him failed.

Gardaí said last night they are treating the death as a tragedy.

A post mortem is due to be carried out and an investigation is underway for a coroner's inquest.

Described by estate agents as an exclusive development, Glenatore – which is close to Lough Ree – was granted planning permission for 66 terraced homes and apartments in 2005.

Just five properties were occupied and 13 were vacant, according to the 2011 national house survey. Others never started or were at various stages of construction when building works stopped.

A spokesman from Westmeath County Council said Glenatore is listed as a category 3 unfinished housing estate – meaning while there is no on-site work, a developer remains in place and is responsible for public health and safety on site.

He said a decision on whether to launch an investigation will be made after the facts of the case are known.

“This is very tragic and we would like to offer our sympathies to the family of the child concerned,” he said.

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