Drowning tragedy survivor attends victim's funeral
THE sole survivor of the Malin Head drowning tragedy joined relatives of tragic teenager, Thomas Weir for the funeral yesterday of the first victim, Gerry Doherty.
The funeral of boat owner, Gerry `Malin' Doherty took place from the isolated St Mary's Church, Lagg, Malin from where many victims of the sea have been buried through the years. Mr Doherty (68) and his nephew, Thomas (16) died on Tuesday when their boat capsized off Malin Head.
Dessie Keenan, originally from Monaghan but living in Derry, managed to survive by clinging to the upturned hull of the boat until help arrived. Mr Keenan, who was also related to the two victims, attended yesterday's Requiem Mass and funeral.
From Dalkeith in Midlothian, Thomas had been staying recently with Mr Keenan. It is understood his body is to be returned to Scotland for burial.
Friends and relatives of the teenager travelled from Scotland for yesterday's Requiem Mass. They were joined by many of the people involved in the rescue and recovery operation on Tuesday, including Lough Swilly Lifeboat representative, John McCarter and representatives of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. Inishowen Fianna Fail TD, Charlie McConalogue also attended.
Malin curate, Fr Charlie Logue, who was joined by parish priest, Fr Peter Devlin, told mourners that Mr Doherty's father, Patsy drowned in the same stretch of sea while fishing almost exactly 39 years ago on July 22 1979.
Fr Logue said he prayed on the shoreline after the alarm was raised on Tuesday before the full horror of the tragedy emerged. The Donegal based priest said that, in the tragedy, it was some consolation that Mr Keenan survived and that Mr Doherty and Thomas were found.
Mr Doherty's brother-in-law, John Gleeson said the Donegal man also said he had won the lottery by having his wife, Marian and their children and grandchildren.
Mr Gleeson said: “He always had a smile and a good word for everyone.”
Following Requiem Mass, Mr Doherty was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.