Saturday 14 December 2019

Teen dies of suspected drug overdose 3 days after falling ill at popular music festival

Jack Downey was a first-year student at CIT
Jack Downey was a first-year student at CIT

A teenager has lost his three-day battle for life after falling ill at a music festival following a suspected ecstasy overdose.

The 19-year-old, named locally as Jack Downey from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, died at Cork University Hospital (CUH) yesterday afternoon.

The first-year student at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and keen hurler died with his family by his side.

He failed to regain consciousness after being admitted to the hospital in a critical condition on Friday afternoon.

The teenager had complained of feeling unwell at the Indiependence music festival in Mitchelstown, Co Cork, shortly before 5pm.

It is unclear what substance was involved, but detectives believe it was either ecstasy pills or the powder form of the drug, known as MDMA.


A garda investigation is trying to determine the source of the substance and whether it was contaminated or became toxic after being combined with alcohol.

The student was taken to medical staff at the festival site by concerned friends and immediately treated before being rushed by ambulance to CUH.

His condition deteriorated and he was admitted to the intensive care unit and placed on life-support.

Since then, his heartbroken family have maintained a vigil.

Jack sat his Leaving Cert last year and was heavily involved in sports in his native Tipperary, playing GAA throughout his teenage years with Clonmel Og.

One of his parents is a serving garda in Tipperary.

An Indiependence festival spokesperson previously confirmed over the weekend they were aware of the matter.

"To clarify media reports of drug-related issues at Indie 2019, we wish to confirm that since the event opened at 10am on Friday, August 2, we have had one drug-related transfer to CUH.

"Chief medical officer William Wade has confirmed that on Friday evening a 19-year-old male was transferred to CUH having received treatment from the on-site doctor."

The organisers released another statement yesterday, saying their thoughts were with the Downey family.

"Our immediate thoughts and those of all the festival- goers are with the family, relatives and friends of the deceased at their very sad loss," the statement said.

"As with all sudden deaths, An Garda Siochana are investigating any pre-existing medical conditions and the circumstances surrounding the matter."

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