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Young teen death stuns Clare Island


TRAGIC The island of Clare Island this afternoon hosted the funeral of 13-year-old Morgan Pinder, who died in a road accident in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Funeral of 13-year-old Morgan Pinder takes place this afternoon

Anton McNulty

The late Morgan Pinder is pictured last October where he won second prize for his aged blackface ewes at the Clare Island Ram Fair.

THE close-knit Clare Island community is still in a deep state of shock following the tragic death of 13-year-old Morgan Pinder, who died in a car accident on the island over the weekend.
The islanders have been comforting Morgan’s parents, Tom and Maureen, and a large crowded attended the funeral Mass this afternoon on the Church of the Sacred Heart on Clare Island.
The school boy died instantly around 1am on Sunday morning when the car he was driving struck a ditch near his home in the village of Gurteen on Clare Island. 
Maureen Pinder has been the Manager of the Clare Island Community Centre for the past decade and Ian McCabe of the Clare Island Community Co-op said the community were devastated for the Pinder family.
“It’s [community] in a real deep sadness and we are all so sorry for the family … it’s an absolute nightmare. This is the worst [tragedy] to take place on Clare Island in my memory,”  he told The Mayo News.
Mr McCabe said the Clare Island community were like an extended family and the Pinders were the real life-blood of the place and involved in everything good. 
Morgan was a youngest of a family of four with three older brothers, Christian, Jack and Dylan. A talented sean-nós dancer, Mr McCabe said Morgan had an ‘old head on young shoulders’, who was central to the cultural life of the community.
“He was a very well liked young man and was incredibly kind to the younger kids in the community. I have two young children in school with him and he was a real mentor to them. He was involved in training the GAA team and was a great character.
“He was a very talented sean-nós dancer and was a marvellous reciter. He would get up on stage and rhyme off really long recitations, maybe 20 verses long, and he would have you in fits of laughter,” he said.
Following the accident, the body was brought to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar for a post mortem. The scene of the accident was examined by a Garda forensic team and Gardaí in Westport are appealing for witnesses to the crash.
Morgan had just completed national school on Clare Island and was due to start first year of secondary school in Sancta Maria College in Louisburgh in a few weeks.


A flotilla of up to 12 boats accompanied Morgan’s body from Roonagh Pier back to Clare Island where he was waked in his family home on Sunday night, and large crowds were in attendance on the island on both Monday’s night and again at the funeral Mass this afternoon. 
Fr John Kenny, the priest for the island who said the funeral Mass, told The Mayo News the whole community is devastated and supporting the Pinder family, who he said are in a daze and struggling to comprehend what has occurred.
“He was only 13 and was preparing to go to secondary school in Louisburgh and start a new beginning in his life. As the youngest child, his parents were preparing for the upheaval that would bring, but they now have to deal with this devastation.
“Morgan was a fun, bubbly young lad who never stayed in the background and always had a smile on his face. 
He was well liked, not by just those in his own age group, but by the whole community.”
As a mark of respect following the tragic death, Louisburgh GAA postponed a senior match which was due to take place yesterday and a U-16 match due to be played today was also postponed. The GAA club also performed a guard of honour at the funeral along with local sheep farmers. 
The Clare Island Ferry Company put on extra ferries for people wishing to attend the funeral this afternoon and ferries will continue to bring mourners back to the mainland this evening and tomorrow.