Tuesday 23 January 2018

Town mourning loss of 'community stalwarts'

Tom Shiel

A TOWN was in mourning last night following the drowning of two prominent men in a boating tragedy.

Both Donal McEllin (64) and Ger Feeney (56) were well-known and well-liked in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Mr Feeney, who lived at The Oaks, was a former GAA All-Star footballer.

He was married with four adult children; three sons and a daughter. He worked for the ESB.

Mr McEllin, the boat owner, had lived at Breaffy Road. He was a single man and a qualified pilot, and was fondly known by the nickname 'Skinty'.

He bought the cruiser some years ago after selling 'The Airport Bar' and an adjacent runway.

The two men had set out from Rosmoney, where the Mayo sailing club is based, on Saturday for Inishbofin Island.

It is understood they were socialising in Day's Hotel on the island on Saturday night and were returning in a dinghy to their motor cruiser when they got into difficulties.

Both men, who were diligent about safety, were wearing lifejackets.

News of the double tragedy was described as "appalling" by the Mayor of Castlebar, Councillor Ger Deere, yesterday.

"Donal and Ger were two stalwarts of the local community," he said.

"Donal came from a very well known and respected old Castlebar business family.

"Ger made a name for himself as a footballer and was very proud of the fact that two of his sons, Alan and Richie, currently play with the Castlebar Mitchels senior team."

One of Mr Feeney's footballing sons, Alan, was in New York yesterday with the Mayo senior team for the FBD league final against New York when he learned of the tragedy.

Irish Independent

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