Friday 21 July 2017

'The ultimate family man' - wife's tribute after tragedy

Devoted dad Eamonn with his children Sarah (14), Alex and Lucy (12) and wife Sharon
Devoted dad Eamonn with his children Sarah (14), Alex and Lucy (12) and wife Sharon
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

The family of a man who was killed in a tragic kayaking accident on Saturday has said their "whole world has been rocked".

Father-of-three Eamonn O'Donohoe died after getting into difficulty while kayaking on Lough Ree in Co Roscommon.

Mr O'Donohoe (46), who was originally from Palmerstown in Dublin, had been living with his wife Sharon and three children in Roscommon since 2006.

In a touching tribute to her "wonderful husband", Mrs O'Donohoe said he was the ultimate family man.

"He was a man who lived for his kids," she told the Irish Independent.

"He was the best dad in the world, very family orientated. I don't even know how to describe how good a person he was. He would go out of his way to help anybody," she added.

Father-of-three Eamonn O’Donohoe kayaking
Father-of-three Eamonn O’Donohoe kayaking

She met Eamonn back in 1993 while he was working as a teacher. He later went on to study computer training and did lots of analytical work for Bank of Ireland and AIB.

The couple got married in September 1999.

They have three children - Sarah (14) and twins Alex and Lucy (12).

Read more: 'He was the best Dad in the world' – Family of man killed in tragic kayaking accident say their 'world has been rocked'

"Nobody had anything bad to say about him. He would never do a wrong turn to anyone.

"He was a very fascinating person. People were kind of drawn to him because he would always have an answer to any sort of problem. He was quite intelligent and very good at a lot of things," she said.

Mrs O'Donohoe said they have been overwhelmed by the support of the local community in Kiltoom, Athlone.

"Everybody has been so good, so kind," she said.

A family friend also paid tribute to Mr O'Donohoe.

"Eamonn was such a lovely man with a passion and love of the sport of kayaking, which he instilled into his three beautiful children. He turned his hobby into a family event.

"He had his own unique way of doing things and was fascinating to be around. We are going to miss him by the river bank. The whole community is devastated by this tragedy."

Cllr Aengus O'Rourke (FF), whose children attend the same school as Sarah, Alex and Lucy, said the community is in shock.

"You would regularly see them coming and going to school with kayaks on their car. A daily kayak trip would be nothing to the O'Donohoes," he said.

"The community is in utter shock and disbelief. The death of a young man doing what he did best and what he loved is heartbreaking. Our hearts go out to his children, who are friends of my children.

"This has come as a huge shock to us all".

The alarm was raised on Saturday after Mr O'Donohoe went missing between Lecarrow and Hodson Bay at around lunchtime.

His daughter Sarah and wife Sharon called the Coastguard after he was an hour late returning.

The Coastguard helicopter from Sligo joined the search and identified him and his kayak in the water.

He was unconscious and was brought by lifeboat to Coosan Point.

He was transferred to an ambulance and brought to Portiuncula Hospital in Galway, where he later died.

Mrs O'Donohoe said he had kayaked that route "so many times", but it is not yet clear what happened.

Gardaí have launched an investigation into the incident.

Irish Independent

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