The funeral of 37-year-old Cathal McDaid, who died in a fishing accident on Tuesday morning, will take place tomorrow at 11am in St. Mary’s Church, Bocan.
Mr McDaid, a single man who lived at 16 St. Boden’s Terrace, died after falling into the sea off Mayo at around 10.20am. He was fishing on a Killybegs-based trawler, the Mark Amay II. Mr McDaid was not normally a member of that boat’s crew, but, an experienced fisherman, he had worked on the boat before.
It is understood that Mr McDaid became entangled in trawl gear while the Mark Amay II was 14 miles west of Achill Island. Weather conditions were gale force six to seven at the time, with a three metre swell. His crew mates raised the alarm with Malin Head Coast Guard, launched a liferaft, and recovered him from the water. A fellow crewman administered cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
Mr McDaid was flown to Sligo hospital by the Irish Coast Guard’s Sligo-based helicopter. He was pronounced dead on arrival.
This is the third tragedy to strike the McDaid family in recent years. In March, 2008, two of Mr McDaid’s uncles, Daniel and Francis of Culkeeny, Malin, died when the Strath Marie sank while they were out lifting lobster pots. Another of his uncles also died in a tragic accident.
Fr James McGonagle, PP, said the entire community of Culdaff is in shock at the tragedy. “Everybody is really shocked at what happened, especially when it was just by accident that Cathal happened to be on that trip. It’s a tragedy, to think of his father having lost three brothers and now a son as well.
“Words cannot convey how people feel. This is a very closely-knit community and the family are so well-known and respected. The whole community is affected. But the family know that they have the support of everyone here and that we will do all we can for them.”
Cllr. Bernard McGuinness said he, like everyone else in Culdaff, is devastated. “I knew Cathal well, and, of course, I know his parents Charles and Kathleen, his sister Margo brother Patrick. Cathal was very close to his family, especially his brother and sister. He loved fishing, just as he loved life.
“Like a lot of the fellows around here, fishing was a big part of Cathal’s life. He comes from a family that’s been fishing for generations and he fished with his father from his teenage years. Then he went away to fish out of Gloucester, Massachusetts for ten years or so, and came back about two years ago.
“He was a real character, a happy-go-lucky fellow and there wasn’t a bad bone in his body. When he’d see someone he knew, but couldn’t remember their name because he’d been away so long, he’d always just say ‘Hello, bucko’.
“Cathal was a great footballer when he was at school and although he stopped playing, he was still a big fan.
“It’s just so hard to believe that this has happened and that he is gone. He will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies are with the family at this terrible time.”
Sean O’Donoghue of the Killbegs Fishermen’s Organisation told the Democrat: “We’re devastated at the news and, on behalf of myself as well as the KFO and all the fishing community, we extend our deepest sympathies to the McDaid family. The death of Cathal highlights the hazards of life at sea. It is a very dangerous profession.”