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Father dies at same fishing spot as brother

A FATHER of three drowned near his home -- five years after he searched the same waters for his brother's body.

Michael O'Connor (59) was found -- wearing a lifejacket -- near his family home in Cullenstown, Co Wexford, after his wife Joan became frantic when he failed to return from fishing.

She wept as she described how her loving husband had driven to Dublin with their son the day before his death to help settle him in college.

Joan described her husband as a "fond dad" to Shane (19), Michael (16) and Grace (13). The family moved to Co Wexford because it was Michael's dream to come home after living in England for 25 years.

That Sunday night was like any other for the family before tragedy struck, she said. "I'd just been out with my dancing, he was sitting in his chair watching The Big Catch or some fishing programme.

"We chatted for a while. I said, 'we'll go to bed now' but he said 'no, I'll just go down to the river for a while' because it had rained and there'd be more fish.

"He said, 'you know I'll be okay'. He always said that because he only fished down at the bottom of the garden."

Joan expected her husband to return at the usual time of 5am but by 6am he had failed to show.

"I rang him and his voicemail came on ... I kept ringing his phone."

Mrs O'Connor said she knew there was "something not right" when his boat was gone.

She added: "The coastguard came at 11 o'clock and found him ... he wasn't far from here."

Michael's brother, 44-year-old Ronnie died in a similar fishing accident in 2005.

Joan told how Michael was "brilliant" and a "real fond dad". He lived life to the full and "wouldn't want to go to bed as it was a waste of time".

His body was been brought to Waterford Regional Hospital where a post mortem examination was expected to reveal he died by drowning.