Northern Ireland

Co Fermanagh man who died suddenly in Thailand remembered as someone ‘always smiling’

Damien Melarkey from Enniskillen (49) had been due to return home the day after he died

Damien Melarkey
Damien Melarkey from Enniskillen passed away on June 5

A Co Fermanagh man who died suddenly in Thailand has been remembered as a someone who was “always smiling”.

Tributes have been paid to Damien Melarkey from Enniskillen, who passed away on June 5, just a day before he was due to return home for his nephew’s birthday.

The 49-year-old was staying in a tourist village outside Bangkok when he died. It has been reported he passed away from natural causes.

His body is due to arrive home to Enniskillen on Friday.

His brother Brian said his death was a “massive shock to all of us”.

“But before he passed away, he got to spend a month in a place that he loved with good friends, so that gives us some comfort,” he told the Fermanagh Herald.

Mr Melarkey had been holidaying in Thailand for around four weeks before he died.

He had visited the southeast Asian country on numerous occasions, travelling to various parts including Ko Samui and Phuket.

Brian said his brother had fallen in love with Thailand and “worked all year round to go out at this time of year”.

“He’d built up contacts there over the years, and would always meet up with these Australian lads and an American friend that he got to know well there,” he said.

“The four of them would have travelled around together to the likes of Ko Samui and Phuket. It’s such a beautiful country. He loved the Thai people and the food.”

A forklift driver at Mannok’s packaging in Derrylin for more than 10 years, the company said he was a “valued and popular” colleague.

In a post on social media, it said: “It is with deepest regret and sadness that the company has learned of the death of our colleague and friend, Damien Melarkey who passed away unexpectedly abroad.

“Damien was a valued and popular member of our packaging team during his employment over the past 17 years.

“Everyone at Mannok wishes to offer our sincerest condolences to Damien’s family and wide circle of friends at this difficult time.”.

It is with deepest regret and sadness that the company has learned of the death of our colleague and friend, Damien...

Posted by Mannok on Thursday 13 June 2024

Enniskillen Gaels also paid their respects to Mr Melarkey on social media.

“The club wish to offer sincere condolences to the Melarkey and McEvoy families on the death of Damien,” the club said.

Other tributes posted online described Mr Melarkey as a “lovely genuine person who could raise the energy in anyone he talked to”.

He was also remembered as someone who was “always smiling” and a “wonderful person, genuine and true to himself”.

His funeral is due to take place at St Michael’s Church, Enniskillen on Monday at 11am followed by burial in Cross Cemetery.