6-year-old boy sees dad plunge to death on Clare holiday
Garda killed in fishing accident on family holiday
Published 26/08/2011 | 05:00
A little boy who saw his father plunge off a cliff and fall 100ft to his death during a family holiday yesterday was being comforted by devastated family members last night.
Garda Adrian Martin (46), from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, was fishing for mackerel with his six-year-old son Dermot near Doonlicka Castle in Kilkee, Co Clare, around 1.15pm yesterday when the tragedy struck.
It's understood that Gda Martin, who was stationed at the Clones garda station, had tried to free his fishing line after it got snagged on the cliff face. But he reached out too far and lost his balance and plunged about 100 feet to his death.
The shocked boy almost fell off the cliff himself as he looked around for his father in a state of panic.
But another angler who was just yards away and witnessed the tragedy raced over to the edge of the cliff and managed to scoop the child up in time.
He immediately raised the alarm and the Coast Guard lifeboat from Kilkee and the Shannon Coast Guard rescue helicopter were dispatched to the area where Gda Martin's body was retrieved.
He was taken to the Kilkee pier where a local doctor and priest were waiting and he was pronounced dead.
His wife, Helen, who had been staying at a holiday apartment nearby, formally identified her husband. His body was then taken to the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick where a postmortem examination will be carried out.
Last night, Gda Martin's relative, Monaghan County Council member Padraig McNally, said the family was in a state of shock over the tragedy and were en route to Co Clare last night to comfort the little boy and his devastated mother.
Mr McNally, whose wife is a first cousin of the deceased, lives less than a mile from the Martin's family home just outside Carrickmacross.
Everyone in the area is totally shocked and saddened by the tragedy, he said.
"It's just terrible," he told the Irish Independent. "I knew him well. He was a lovely, quiet family man," he added.
Gda Martin's family, including his father Peter and brothers, Stephen, Paul, Justin, and Carl, run a family business and are well known in the area.
Colleagues of Gda Martin, who was stationed at Clones for the past decade, were shocked by the terrible accident.
A colleague said: "We cannot believe this happened to him. He was a great individual and was always very pleasant. We are all shocked by the news, and we extend our deepest sympathy to Adrian's wife and family".
A spokeman for the Castleblayney town council where Mrs Martin works, also expressed its condolences to her and the family.
Gardai in Kilrush, meanwhile, are urging any witnesses to the accident to contact them on 065 9080550.