Boat tragedy victim Martin laid to rest

OLIVER MURPHY was supposed to accompany his father, Martin, on last Sunday's ill-fated trip aboard the Pisces fishing boat that sank off the Wexford coast, but the vessel could only take nine passengers so he stayed ashore.

Yesterday Mr Murphy joined a packed congregation at the Church of St John the Baptist at Galbally, Enniscorthy, as his 66-year-old father, one of five who perished off Fethard-on-Sea, was laid to rest.

“This has been a great tragedy that has taken from our midst people we knew so well,” parish priest Fr Aidan Kavanagh told mourners, including widow Mary Ellen, her four other children, Fintan, Elaine, Ailish and Colette, as well as relatives of the other four victims. “So many families have been so cruelly robbed of loved ones that words are inadequate to temper the grief and pain felt today. Many questions have been asked but so far there have been no answers. I am at a loss to explain the tragedy.”

He described Mr Roche as “a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend” and assured his grieving family that they were not alone in “their hour of grief and sorrow”.

The Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Ferns, the Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, Dr Eamonn Walsh, said the memorial at Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, to those who have lost their lives at sea served as a reminder of how “the majestic, powerful, rolling waters often called the cruel sea demand our respect. These deaths may save other lives that we never hear about”.

A fishing rod was among the offertory gifts along with a pair of clippers to mark Mr Roche’s love of gardening, a wooden frame of a bee hut to mark his interest in beekeeping and a coffee mug to commemorate the dead man’s sociable and welcoming nature.

Among the mourners were former colleagues of Mr Roche at Aylesbury Council in Buckinghamshire where he worked as a bus driver prior to his retirement seven years ago.

The remaining four victims of the tragedy will be buried today. Seamus Doyle, 33, and his son Mark, 14, will be buried side by side in Cushenstown Cemetery after a funeral mass at 11am in St Mary’s and St Michael’s Church in New Ross to where their remains were taken last evening.

Mark’s grandfather Jim Cooney will be remembered at the same funeral mass and later laid to rest at Terrerath Cemetery. The burial of John Cullen will take place this afternoon after a funeral mass at 2pm in the Church of the Assumption, Rosbercon, New Ross.

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