Thursday 26 April 2018

Trawler-tragedy village in tribute to sea victims

A FISHING village yesterday unveiled a special memorial to honour those lost at sea.

The memorial -- in the shape of a giant 18th Century anchor recovered off the west Cork coast -- was unveiled yesterday in Union Hall.

Last January five men drowned off Union Hall when their French-built trawler, Tit Bonhomme, struck rocks and sank as she raced to port ahead of a storm.

Those who died included skipper Michael Hayes (52), Kevin Kershaw (21), who was completing his first fishing trip, and three Egyptian fishermen, Wael Mohamad (32), Shaban Attia (26) and Saied aly Eldin (24).

The bodies were recovered after a huge four-week search in which the whole Union Hall community operated a voluntary feeding station on the village pier from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Fr Pierce Cormac, a native of Union Hall, said the outpouring of kindness and remarkable unity shown by the fishing community was akin to the old Irish creamery spirit where everyone rallied together to help their neighbours.

The Bishop of Cork & Ross, Dr John Buckley, has also paid tribute to the community for their support of the trawler men's families at their time of greatest need.

The memorial has as its centrepiece a giant anchor which was salvaged from a seabed wreck by local diver, Aodh O'Donnell, who played a major role in the Tit Bonhomme search operation.

A memorial wall also features the names of 80 people who lost their lives at sea off west Cork over the past two centuries.

Irish Independent

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