Frank O'Flynn, Mayor of the County of Cork, says he looks forward to a full report after two competitors died during the Ironman event in Youghal, Co Cork on Sunday, August 20.

"That was a hard one to call," O'Flynn said on RTÉ Morning Ireland on Monday when asked if he thought the competition should have been halted in the wake of the deaths.

"I have no doubt that there will be a full investigation and I look forward to the reports on that.

"And that's something that I would ask that they would look at.

"I know that they are very much involved in other Ironman events throughout the world."

Brendan Wall, a 44-year-old from Co Meath, and Ivan Chittenden, a 64-year-old from Canada, died in separate incidents during the swimming section of Sunday's endurance event in Youghal, Co Cork. 

"Safety personnel provided immediate medical attention upon recognizing the athletes were in need of assistance," Ironman organizers said later on Sunday, adding that they were "deeply saddened" to confirm the deaths.

Post-mortems on the two competitors were due to be carried out on Monday while garda investigations are underway.

Before the Ironman race began on Sunday, organizers confirmed that they had shortened the length of the swim portion of the race to 1.9km from 3.8km "due to conditions of the water."

Social media users shared clips of rough waters, a result of Storm Betty, as competitors began the endurance competition on Sunday.

Investigations are under way after two men died while taking part in an Ironman event in Youghal, Co Cork. Organisers had earlier advised participants of a change to the distance due to conditions at the start of the race |

— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 20, 2023

"I know the organizers took a decision because of the swell in the morning to reduce the length of the swim and that was a decision for the body that organized it, and that was their call," O'Flynn told RTÉ Morning Ireland.

"Afterwards, I suppose it's easier to make the call, but it's a worldwide event, there's quite a lot of organization that goes into it, but at the end of the day, safety is paramount and the fact that they did reduce the length of the swim was, at that stage, they thought that would make it much safer.

"They are very, very conscious of the safety. It is very, very well organized."

When asked if it felt "wrong" to be presenting medals at the conclusion of the event, O'Flynn said: "It was a very sad occasion and it definitely put a damper on the day.

"Talking to a lot of the athletes afterward, quite a lot of them weren't aware exactly what happened.

"Quite some of them knew that there were some issues in the water, but they weren't as aware because they were focused on their own swim.

"But talking to quite a lot of them after, they were very, very surprised and they definitely were upset."

O'Flynn said that after speaking with doctors later in the day, he felt "everything that could be done was done on the day."