The family of an Erris man who drowned at sea last year have hailed the ‘incredible’ support they received from the community in the search for his body.
The body of Daniel Doherty (22) was found in Lacken Bay on September 25, two weeks after he went missing whilst out working his lobster pots off the Erris coast.
An inquest into his death last Wednesday heard that the huge land and sea search saw hundreds of people lend their support.
Figures from the Irish Coast Guard show that 150 people helped during the week and that figure rose to 500 at the weekend. However, the family stress these figures just account for those who signed up at a local community centre - many more simply joined the search mid stream.
“The help we got from the wider community was incredible. We will be forever grateful,” Daniel’s mother Noreen said afterwards.
The inquest heard of a young man who loved fishing and the sea and was clearly loved by those close to him. His uncle Ciarán said how Daniel used to go fishing with him until he got his own boat.
Ciarán recalled ‘a hard worker’ and speaking to Daniel the morning he went missing.
“He was in perfect form,” said Ciarán and that morning, while at sea he sent Ciarán a Snapchat image of the cliffs.
His father Brian was the last person to see Daniel alive. Daniel was in his parents house eating breakfast before hitting for Rinroe Pier.
He recalled a son who was an experienced fisherman and ‘knew what he was doing’.
Later that same day Brian Doherty got the call every parent must dread.
Cathal Reilly was a fisherman and a friend of Daniel. They spoke that morning too. Daniel’s obliging nature was recalled. Cathal was going to a wedding in Laois and Daniel offered to call in and look after his lambs while he was away.
That meitheal spirit would come full circle to Daniel before the day was out.
Daniel’s girlfriend Tara Walker was going out with Daniel almost four years. She spoke of how they had ‘lots of plans for the future’. He named his boat the ‘Tara Rose’ after her.
They were texting the morning Daniel went missing and he said he was going out to his lobster pots.
“I told him to be careful and that I loved him,” Tara said. They had plans for that night - a trip to the cinema. He sent her a Snapchat image of the boat at sea that morning. It would be their last communication.
“I will always love him. I hope no one else has to go through the loss of someone they love at sea,” added Tara.