THE father of a young Mallow boy who drowned in a swimming pool in Spain has said his family can take some comfort from helping to prevent a similar tragedy visiting other parents.
The parents of three-year-old Avery James Greene, who drowned last summer, are spearheading a campaign for the introduction of free, state-funded, swimming lessons for children across Ireland.
Avery’s father, Eric Greene, said he and his wife Amanda want to ensure that another child, in the same position, would have the know-how to save themselves.
Mr Greene said that a close family friend, Eimear Barry, who is a children’s swim instructor, approached them with the idea of campaigning for state-funded swim lessons for preschoolers. They didn’t hesitate to get involved.
“We are adamant believers that this needs to go ahead,” Eric said.
“It needs to be supported at Government level. There are too many children being lost to drowning. There were two Cork babies lost last summer alone.”
Mr Greene said the pain of losing a child was something he would never wish on another person.
“The loss, the pain, is phenomenal and overbearing. Someone on the outside can’t comprehend it. They can understand what you are saying but they can’t understand what you are feeling. We don’t want to see the same hurt and pain being experienced by someone else. The pain of losing a child is too much.”
Mr Greene said he would take solace if Avery’s campaign could save another child.
“If it could save one child, that would be enough. It would make the campaign worthwhile. If a child was to fall into the water, they should know what to do, so they have a chance,” Mr Greene said.
He also thanked the people of Cork as well as the Kevin Bell Repatriation Fund, for their support and care and generosity over the last few months. Through a gofundme page set up to help the family, almost €40,000 was raised for Kevin Bell Trust through members of the public. Mr Greene said he and Amanda were going to continue campaigning to get the proposal recognised at a Government level.
“This is an essential skill and we are firm believers this needs to happen.”