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Family's agony Drowning victim Daire Conlon had just waved off brothers after Christmas holidays

He had been swimming with a friend after earlier saying goodbye to two of his brothers who caught the ferry back to the mainland to travel to London.

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Daire Conlon

Daire Conlon

Daire Conlon

The young student who drowned off the coast of Donegal on Monday afternoon had just said goodbye to two of his brothers as they traveled back to London to work after the Christmas holidays.

The victim, named locally as Daire Conlon, died after he got into difficulty while swimming with a friend off Arranmore Island just after 2pm.

The 18-year-old was a sixth year student at Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada who was due to sit his Leaving Certificate in June.

He was taken from the water off the beach at Leabgarrow but despite the best efforts of medics at the scene, he could not be saved.

Daire is the youngest in his family.

He had been swimming with a friend after earlier saying goodbye to two of his brothers who caught the ferry back to the mainland to travel to London.

The young men were contacted and returned home after hearing the tragic news of Daire’s passing.

Relatives and friends were comforting his parents Claire and Derek and his immediate family last night.

His family home, which operates as a bed and breakfast, looks down on the beach where he tragically perished.

Local priest Rev. John Boyce attended the heartbreaking scene after Daire was taken ashore.

He gave the young student the last rites.

He said there are simply no words to describe how the community of Arranmore is feeling now following the tragedy.

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“There is very little to say. There are no words to describe the situation and the only word you could use is numb. That’s how people feel,” he said.

Speaking about attending the scene of the tragedy, Fr Boyce added “It just never gets any easier.”

Daire's remains are reposing at his late residence, which is strictly private to family and school friends.

His Funeral Mass will take place on Friday, January 7, in St Crona’s Church, Arranmore Island, followed by burial in the adjoining graveyard.

Chairperson of the Arranmore Island Community Council, Adrian Begley, said Daire’s young age made the tragedy all the more poignant.

“The entire Arranmore Island community both at home and abroad are in shock at the tragic loss of one of its much loved young people.

“His young age of only eighteen years made this devastating incident all the more poignant.

“Arranmore Island Community Council wish to extend their deepest sympathy to his grieving family, to whom his loss will be immeasurable.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wider family circle, his friends and the emergency services who attended the scene and done all they could to help,” he said.

Members of the Arranmore RNLI who took part in the efforts to save Daire paid tribute to the much-loved young islander.

In a statement, it said “Arranmore RNLI wish to express our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of the young man who tragically lost his life at Leabgarrow, Arranmore Island yesterday despite the best efforts of the RNLI crew, local GP, ambulance medics, Rescue 188 and locals.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his heartbroken family and friends at this sad time. May he rest in peace.”

Daire's remains are reposing at his late residence, which is strictly private to family and school friends.

His Funeral Mass will take place on Friday, January 7, in St Crona’s Church, Arranmore Island, followed by burial in the adjoining graveyard.

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