herald

Monday 21 August 2017

Build a bridge where my Tyler (3) drowned, says distraught mum

Tyler Joyce (3), who died in an accident at the Royal Canal (INM)
Tyler Joyce (3), who died in an accident at the Royal Canal (INM)
Flowers and a garda car at the scene of the tragedy (Picture: Caroline Quinn)

A heartbroken mum has pleaded for a walkway to be built over the stream where her three-year-old son and his father drowned after taking a shortcut.

Pamela Joyce told the Herald that a footbridge should be built where her little son Tyler (3) and his father Sean Sweeney (36) drowned at Ashington Park, near the Royal Canal, so another tragedy doesn't happen.

It is believed that they had been taking a shortcut to visit Mr Sweeney's parents when tragedy struck.

It is understood that the father and son fell into the ditch and drowned.

Ms Joyce paid tribute to her little bundle of joy who was "always so happy" and "brought joy to everyone".

"It's the only thing that's getting me through … that he was so happy," Ms Joyce told the Herald last night.

Cuddle

"He would wake up during the night, have a drink and say 'give us a cuddle' and he'd give me a huge hug. He would put his hand inside the pillow and rub his ear … that was his little thing.

"Why can't they make a little walkway, it's not going to cost them much," she said.

"Even a bus from there (Ashington Park) to Finglas would stop people jumping the wall. If there was a bus he (Sean) could have just walked around the corner and got a bus.

"I know they fixed the fence, but the young fellas cut it.

"That's because they don't want to walk all the way round…it would take an hour's walk or you can do it in ten minutes by jumping the wall," Ms Joyce added.

"I took that shortcut myself before I even had Tyler and I fell into that ditch.

"I was there for an hour and a half, I couldn't get out. Two lads went by and threw their jackets down and I held onto the sleeves."

Ms Joyce and her father Peter were last night looking back on old photos of happier times.

A picture of Tyler dressed in a pumpkin outfit for Halloween, a glorious day at Dollymount beach and his first holiday abroad to Portugal all represented his "short but happy life".

"His favourite song was Happy, by Pharrel Williams. He loved that song. He'd ask me to come into bed and he would bounce up and down to the music ... he loved his dancing," said Tyler's inconsolable mother.

"We went to Portugal when he was one and his little bum would be shaking in the chair to the music. We knew straight away that he was going to be into dancing.

"I wouldn't like any mother to go through this. It's cruel because he was so intelligent, he never cried. He could have done anything with his life."

Grandfather Peter paid a special tribute to little Tyler and also thanked the community for their support following the tragedy.

"Tyler loved answering the telephone … I never had to answer my phone. I would ask Tyler if the person wanted to talk to me or him. He knew how to flick through my phone and hang up," recalled Peter.

"We want to thank the neighbours and everybody for calling to the house, their phone calls, their messages, their presents.

"People in the street have missed him over the last few days.

"We will miss him very much. He would share his last sweet with you. He did an Easter egg hunt in school and he got so many that he gave the other kids some."

Devoted

The shortcut that Sean Sweeney and his son were taking was through a broken railway fence from the Ashington estate to their home in Finglas.

Irish Rail confirmed that a work crew had fixed the fence just over two weeks ago, on March 12, but it was broken again in the meantime, allowing Mr Sweeney and Tyler to use the shortcut on Sunday.

"We repaired this fence on March 12. It is an area where there is frequent interference with the fence and we have fixed it numerous times," a spokesman said.

Tyler will be laid to rest on Friday.

His devoted mum added that his favourite song Happy will be played in his memory.

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