Irish News

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Mourners pay respects to dad of tragic cruise teen Lynsey

Jerome Reilly

Published 13/07/2013|13:43

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The coffin of Paul O'Brien is carried from St. Pius X Church in Templeogue
The coffin of Paul O'Brien is carried from St. Pius X Church in Templeogue

More than 1,000 people today attended the funeral of Paul O'Brien, the father of schoolgirl Lynsey O' Brien who fell to her death from a cruise ship seven years ago.

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Mr O'Brien, who was 50, was found dead at his business premises in Ballymount last  Sunday.

There were no suspicious circumstances.

Friends and  the local community joined his family, including wife Sandra and children Kelley, Imelda and Dean and other relatives for the funeral service at  St Pius X Church in Templeogue and for the interment afterwards at Mount Jerome Cemetry.

The congregation heard warm tributes to Mr O'Brien who was described as a hard working family man who loved his family unconditionally.

They were also told that Paul O'Brien had never got over the loss of his daughter Lynsey who was just 15 when she fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Carribean, while on a family vacation just moments after her father had put her to bed. The tragedy occurred in January 2006.

Ahead of today's funeral, the O'Brien family asked for donations to be given to suicide charity Pieta House in lieu of flowers.

Mr O'Brien was devastated by Lynsey's death and had written a book about the harrowing pain of losing his daughter.

He also fought tirelessly for better safety on cruise ships in the years after her death.

The O'Brien family - including Lynsey's mother Sandra, her two sisters and younger brother - had left Ireland on December 27, 2005, for a holiday that included a cruise leaving from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, sailing to the Carribean.

Lynsey fell to her death on January 4, 2006.

A desperate rescue effort by staff on board the ship failed to find Lynsey and her body was never recovered.

Receipts obtained after Lynsey's death show she had been served at least 10 alcoholic drinks on board, despite being underage.

Lynsey's case was the focus of a Congressional hearing in Washington DC in 2006 about cruise ship dangers.


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