Shock at drowning of hero fisherman

The fisherman who drowned off the coast of Connemara earlier this week has been named as Gearóid O Cualáin, from Carna.

Mr O Cualáin, also known as Gerry Folan, is believed to have got into difficulty while aboard his currach on Monday last.

The 43-year-old left Carna on a fishing trip at around 1.30pm last Monday afternoon.The experienced fisherman was believed to be tending to lobster pots around the coast.

The alarm was raised when he had not returned by 10.30pm. The last sighting of Mr O Cualáin was off Mace Head at approximately 5pm Monday evening.

Mr O Cualáin’s body was found on Tuesday after an extensive search by the Aran Lifeboat, Shannon Rescue Helicopter, a Casa Air Corps plane and Valentia Coastguard working with local search and rescue teams. His body was recovered from the shoreline on Macdara Island, off Carna, at around lunchtime and was transferred to University Hospital Galway on Tuesday afternoon for a post-mortem examination.

Father-of-four Mr O Cualáin was involved in the rescue attempt of two brothers off the Connemara coast three years ago. The experienced lobster fisherman jumped into the water to save Johnny Sheáin Jeaic McDonncha, who sadly drowned when his Galway hooker got into difficulty in September 2009. Mr McDonncha’s brother, Josie Sheáin Jeaic McDonncha, was saved.

Gearóid O’Cualáin’s death is the second such drowning tragedy to hit Galway in weeks. Angler Michael Ruane, 53, from Devon Park in Salthill, lost his life in March following an accident on Lough Corrib.


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