Wednesday 21 February 2018

Friends continue hunt for fishermen

Friends of two fishermen missing in the Irish Sea have vowed never to give up their search for them.

A major operation is in its fourth day to find newlywed Ronan Browne and David Gilsenan, who vanished on Friday when fishing for lobster off Skerries, north Dublin.

Local man Simon O'Connor said everyone in their home town is committed to finding Mr Browne, one of his closest friends, and Mr Gilsenan.

"All of Ronan's friends are just doing what Ronan would do," said the 27-year-old.

"Ronan would walk the rocks in his bare feet for anybody.

"He would do what he could do for us to find us. He wouldn't rest at all, he wouldn't stop and we won't stop for him and David."

Dozens of local trawlermen have spent the last three days scanning the vast sea area from Howth to Carlingford for any sign of the missing men, who are feared drowned.

Mr O'Connor said the cost of fuel for boat owners and crews - who are searching instead of going to work - is huge.

"We have had people inquire about giving money for fuel, so a bank account has been opened in Skerries for those people," he said.

An account has been opened at the Bank of Ireland branch in the town in the name of Lady Linda - the name of the boat the men were fishing from - to accept donations.

Meanwhile, devastated family members have joined hundreds of friends, members of the Civil Defence and Coastguard teams in coastline searches at low tide from Rush to Carlingford.

A team of Navy divers has also joined the operation to support Coastguard and volunteer lifeboat crews.

Weather conditions were said to be difficult in the area, with force six-seven winds offshore.

Mr Browne, 26, and his wife of six months Linda live in Skerries.

Mr Gilsenan, 41, and his wife Suzanne have two young children, aged six and nine, and live in the nearby village of Rush.

Both were qualified marine engineers and experienced fishermen.

Rescue crews believe their 17ft open-top fishing boat capsized in bad weather off the Skerries Islands on Friday before drifting in high winds and swells.

It was located overturned five miles south-east of Clogherhead 24 hours later - 12 miles north from where debris from the boat was recovered.

Oil skins washed up on a beach in Gormanstown, Co Meath, on Sunday.

Press Association

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