Clonmel student died after taking MDMA at festival, inquest hears

Jack Downey - RIP - Taken from Mahon Community Centre Facebook page

Clonmel student died after taking MDMA at Indiependence Festival, the inquest heard.

Jack Downey was just 19 when he died after ingesting ecstasy and morphine as he attended the Cork event in 2019.

Jack Downey passed away on August 5th , three days after falling ill at the festival.

A Coroner’s inquest into the death of the CIT student found he died from ‘total organ failure’ despite the efforts of doctors to stabilise him.

Coroner Philip Comyn returned a verdict of death by misadventure, stating that Jack had not been a ‘regular drug user’ , but there was no such thing as a safe street drug.

Mr Downey was found to have traces of both MDMA and morphine at high levels in his system.

The amount of drugs in his system caused major damage to the brain and other organs including the kidneys and liver.

The inquest heard Jack and a friend sourced MDMA or ‘bombs’ in south Tipperary before they went to the music festival for €200.

One friend said that people with Jack had ‘begged him to stop taking the MDMA’.

He was seen “shaking viciously” while sitting in a camp chair and became unresponsive a short time later.

Mr Downey’s parents, John, a Clonmel-based garda and Elaine, attended the inquest.

Gardaí believe the substance was sourced in south Tipperary and focused their investigation on a number of known drug dealers.

However no prosecution has been directed in this case to date.

At the time Mr Downey’s Requiem Mass took place in his native Clonmel.

John and Elaine Downey urged the friends of their GAA-obsessed son to “look after each other” and warned that drugs destroy lives.

John Downey urged his son’s friends, club mates and class mates to now care for each other.

“I used to sit back and just admire him – he was a man with a presence. A cheeky little smile,” he said.

“He was a fabulous boy – and I am proud to call him my son.”

Elaine Downey said the 19 year old was “the star” of his entire family.

“Jack William Downey – you were the love of my life,” she said.

“(But) we cannot let what happened to Jack happen to any other boy or girl. People have to stand up and speak. All it takes is one big mistake and the results are awful and horrendous,” she warned.


With thanks to

Ralph Riegel – The Irish Independent