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Sligo drug dealer is buried in gold casket two months after death at holiday park

Father-of-six Michael McDonagh (53), died at the Camber Sands holiday park in Lydd Road near the East Sussex border on August 6 following an altercation between a group of people.

Michael McDonagh

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The family of a Sligo man who died in an incident at a holiday park in the UK made a renewed appeal for information at his funeral this week.

Father-of-six Michael McDonagh (53), who lived in London with his family, was pronounced dead at the Camber Sands holiday park in Lydd Road near the East Sussex border on August 6 following an altercation between a group of people.

McDonagh is believed to have gotten into a row after watching the opening match of the Premier League between Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

It has been reported that the convicted drug dealer was held down by a number of men and had stated he couldn’t breathe.

McDonagh was buried in a gold casket two months on from his death following a funeral at Sacred Heart and Mary Immaculate Church in Mill Hill, London on Wednesday.

Around 200 people were in attendance including some who had travelled from Ireland.

Speaking after her father’s funeral service, Stephanie McDonagh said: “Dad was loved by everyone, what happened to him shouldn't have happened.

“He was there with his family and he should have had a nice time, and he should have come home and he didn't.

“If people know any information, I hope they come forward so we can get justice.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Camber Sands holiday park said: “We understand the McDonagh family's grief at this very difficult time.

“Our park team is actively supporting the police and is doing everything they can to assist with their inquiries. As this is a live police investigation we cannot comment further.”

Seven people were previously arrested on suspicion of murder but were released on conditional bail.

An appeal for witnesses was launched, but detectives say they are particularly keen to speak to people who may have recorded the incident on mobile devices.

“At least one man, described as short and thin by witnesses, is believed to have recorded the incident from start to finish,” Sussex Police said in a statement.

“We would encourage this person to come forward or if anybody knows who this person is to make contact with the investigation team.”

In 2000, the Criminal Assets Bureau successfully seized McDonagh’s home near Ballintogher, Sligo after proving that it was bought from the proceeds of crime before the courts.

Soon after that Mr McDonagh left Ireland, he returned and he stayed in local hotels with his family.

He was also on the radar of the National Crime Agency in Britain and was arrested in Amsterdam, Holland in November 2010 and extradited back to the UK on foot of an international warrant for his arrest.

He was subsequently jailed for seven years for drug trafficking.

The family of the Sligo dad had earlier said they were “walking away with broken hearts and unanswered questions”.

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