Tragic teenager Sean McNair, who lost his life after jumping into Rathmullan Pier on Saturday of last week, will be buried on Thursday morning after 10am Mass at St. Mary’s Church, Creggan in Derry.
The long, arduous and painful wait for the recovery of the body of young Sean, finally came to an end on Sunday afternoon, when divers recovered his remains from Lough Swilly.
Many family and friends, including his heartbroken mother Jackie, gathered at the pier, as the remains were brought back to shore. She was said to be “immensely relieved” that her son’s body had finally been found.
Strong currents, winds and poor visibility had made search conditions during the week difficult, but the overall feeling from family was one of relief.
The 17-year-old from the Creggan in Derrry had not been seen since he jumped off Rathmullan Pier in the area the previous Saturday after a night out with friends. Eight days later his body was discovered on the seabed and later taken back to Letterkenny General hospital, where a post mortem took place.
His family held a vigil at the pier throughout the week as huge efforts were undertaken to recover his body. Hundreds of volunteers aslo assisted in efforts to find the young man’s body, assisted by the coastguard and local lifeboats. Dozens of local fisherman and owners of pleasure crafts also assisted.
Derry MLA Mark H Durkan spoke of the support that the family had received from neighbours and friends in the aftermath of the tragedy: “The family will be glad that the body has been recovered. It has been an extremely long and dark week for them. But while they face further difficult weeks ahead, it will be a huge relief for them that the body has been found. One positive of this whole sad affair is the way in which the community has rallied round to help them.”
Volunteers from the Dundalk Sub Aqua Search and Recovery Unit found the body in a channel close to the pier where the teenager who had been celebrating a friend’s 18th birthday. Later four of the friend, including young Sean entered the water, but the young Derry man never made it back.
Rathmullan parish priest Father Martin Collum said the family were hugely relieved that the body had been recovered.
“It is a huge relief for everyone. I spoke to Sean’s mother Jackie McNair since he went missing and all she wanted was to bring him home and bury him. This is a terrible tragedy, but at least Jackie can now bring her son home and give him a proper burial.”
Fr Stephen McLaughlin, who knows the McNair family, said that the family were now concentrating on funeral arrangements for young Sean.
Father McLaughlin said: “There’s been so much anguish over the past week or so. The wait is over. The family were there each and every day with the awful sense of hoping and waiting.
“The worst in circumstances has brought out the best in human nature. For Jackie, his mother and the family, they have found great strength through the support of people in Rathmullan where it happened and in Creggan,” Father McLaughlin said.
Deceased is survived by mother Jackie, brothers Rachel and Taylor and grandfather Patsy, as well as a wide circle of family and friends. Funeral takes place from his home 64 Rinmore Drive on Thursday, 28th July at 9.30am to St. Mary’s Church, Creggan for Requiem Mass at 10am. Interment will follow afterwards in the City Cemetery.