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Widows salute the thousands who helped

THE widows of the two marine engineers who were lost at sea off the coast of Skerries have spoken of the tremendous support they have received from the community.

When Rush father-of-two David Gilsenan (41) and his friend Ronan Browne (26) went missing while fishing, on April 1, "10,000 people cared enough to bring them home", Suzanne Gilsenan, David's wife said.

She was referring to the massive crowds that showed up in Skerries for a walk of solidarity that helped raise €56,000 to help the search for the two men.

As a result of their "selfless actions", the people of Skerries have been honoured with the Community Group of the Year Award for their inspirational actions at this year's People of the Year Awards. Skerries businessmen Ollie Grimes and Martin Scully represented the north Co Dublin community at the awards ceremony at Citywest on Saturday night.


"On the evening of the walk, I was with Linda (Browne) and Suzanne (Gilsenan, David's wife) and we just couldn't believe it when within 10 minutes, thousands of people started showing up," Martin Scully, of the Skerries Chamber of Commerce, told the Herald.

"There are only 10,000- 11,000 people in Skerries alone. We never expected that. In these difficult times, it was heart-warming to see how much people cared. That's what they said (on Saturday night) during the awards ceremony."

Ronan and David were lobster fishing in Ronan's boat, Lady Linda, when they went missing.

"Every morning, around 6am, hundreds of people gathered on the sea shore to get directions from the coast guards and see what they could do to help.

"We realised there was a need for financial support, and as a local man, Frannie Tanner, had set up a bank account for the search and started fundraising, we organised a walk."

Over €80,000 was raised. The bodies of both men were eventually recovered on April 9, six miles off Clogerhead.

"It is a tragedy that will stay with us, and we hope to honour all the people who have gone missing in Skerries over the past 100 years with a memorial," Mr Scully said.