Fisherman's widow thanks searchers in funeral tribute
THE wife of a fisherman who died at sea has given an emotional thanks to all of those who helped find her husband's body.
The funeral of Ronan Browne (26) in Skerries, north Co Dublin, yesterday heard how the newly married young man was a prankster, a hard worker and a committed friend.
Mr Browne and his friend David Gilsenan (41) went missing on April 1 after they left port to check lobster pots. Their bodies were discovered early on Saturday morning about six miles off Clogherhead, Co Louth.
In a letter from Mr Browne's widow, Linda, which was read out at his funeral in St Patrick's Church, she described how she had lost her "best friend".
A massive search and rescue operation was launched when the two men went missing, which included the Coast Guard, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the gardai and the navy.
"I would like to take a second to thank everyone who helped in the search for Ronan and David. There are so many of you that I might never be able to thank you all individually," she said in the letter read by parish priest Fr Richard Hyland.
"To everyone who searched on land, air and sea and everyone who said a kind word or who sent comforting messages, thank you."
Some 500 people filled the church in Skerries at lunchtime yesterday for the funeral, the same church where Ronan and Linda had married last September.
It is believed that the 17ft open-top fishing boat in which the men were travelling when they went missing capsized in bad weather near the islands off Skerries.
Fr Hyland said that for the young people in the community, it was the first time they had lost someone but older members had lived through such loss before in the past. "When I stand at the harbour and look at the vast expanse of water, the sea in all its terrible beauty, beauty is delightful to the eyes, for the life it gives and the produce, and terrible in the life it can take away," he said.
Mr Browne was later buried at Ardla cemetery in Skerries.