Friday 24 November 2017

Family find some solace as tragic James 'comes home'

The remains of Irish football fan James Nolan at Dublin Airport last night following his tragic death in Poland. PIC: COLLINS PHOTOS
The remains of Irish football fan James Nolan at Dublin Airport last night following his tragic death in Poland. PIC: COLLINS PHOTOS
James Nolan at his recent 21st birthday with his parents Jimmy and Essie
James's brother Andrew at the scene where his body was found in Bydgoszcz

Edel Kennedy and Grainne Cunningham

THE body of football fan James Nolan was returned home from Poland to his heartbroken family last night.

The 21-year-old's devastated parents, Essie and Jimmy, met the coffin at their home in Blessington, Co Wicklow, after family members travelled in convoy with the hearse from Dublin Airport.

James drowned after he slipped into a river in the city of Bydgoszcz after a night out last Sunday with friends during the Euro 2012 tournament.

A second-year Environmental Engineering student at Tallaght Institute of Technology, his body was found on Wednesday. Foul play is not suspected.

Relieved

His uncle Pat and brother Andrew completed the necessary paperwork in Poland yesterday before boarding a flight to bring him home.

Last night his uncle Noel Nolan said the family were "relieved" to finally bring him home.

"The Polish helped us sort out the paperwork to get him home, there were no problems there," he said.

"We're just glad to have him home now."

He will be waked at home this evening before being brought to the Church of Our Lady in Blessington for the removal at 8.30pm tomorrow. The funeral Mass will take place on Monday at 11am followed by burial in Burgage Cemetery.

The Ryanair flight from Poland touched down in Dublin shortly after 7.15pm last night. The family made their way through arrivals while James's remains were transferred from the plane to a solid oak coffin which was place in a waiting hearse, in a restricted area of the airport.

An airport police car then provided the hearse with an escort out of the airport until family members in two separate cars joined it on a stretch of open road near.

The little convoy then made its way around the M50 for James' final journey home.

Last night Laura Nolan paid tribute to her cousin saying that James -- known as 'Jam' -- was the cousin she always admired and looked up to.

"I remember seeing him always laughing and having great fun with his friends, whenever I saw him in the school corridors he gave his famous cheeky smile and said 'Alright Laura'," she said.

"Jam was a barman in Blessington and is the best barman ever, he had the laughs with his mates and always had that one-in-a-million smile on his face."

She said he loved music and he would always get up on the dance floor at weddings and nights out.

"The last time I saw James was the night of his 21st birthday only about two weeks ago," she said, adding that friends and family had "the time of our lives" at the party.

"Looking at all the photos of all us Nolans throughout the years shows how loved Jam was by everyone and just how close of a family we are.

"I'm so glad I got to give you a hug and a kiss as one of your 21 kisses," she added.

A spokesman for UEFA said no contact had been made by the Mayor of Bydogszcz. Rafal Bruski said he would be formally asking UEFA for a minute's silence to be held at the remaining games in James's honour. The spokesman said that as no official request had been made, there is "no minute's silence planned at the moment".

Meanwhile, the body of Lee O'Neill will also be returned to his Wicklow home this weekend. The 25-year-old from Spinan's Cross, near Kiltegan, was killed earlier this month in an industrial accident at a sand quarry on Queensland's Southern Downs in Australia.

It is believed he was trying to unblock a sand-crusher so the load could flow through the conveyor belt below. However, he was sucked or fell into the funnel and suffocated.

The accident is being investigated by the Australian Workplace Health and Safety.

His body was due to be returned to Ireland on Sunday but has now been delayed until Tuesday of next week.

Irish Independent

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