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'Dark Cloud' Mayor pays tribute to tragic Galway father and son who died in fishing tragedy

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Martin and Tom Oliver pic: Rip.ie

Martin and Tom Oliver pic: Rip.ie

Martin and Tom Oliver pic: Rip.ie

Galway Mayor Mike Cubbard has said the county is in mourning after the tragic death of a father and son in a fishing incident.

Tom and Martin Oliver from The Claddagh in Galway City, passed away following a freak fishing accident on Monday.

The RNLI lifeboat was called to the incident at lunchtime after their fishing boat got into difficulty near Salthill.

Tom was rushed to University Hospital Galway by ambulance but was later pronounced dead.

Later that night, his father Martin also passed away.

Speaking to the Sunday World, local Mayor Mike Cubbard said the shocking loss has devastated the entire population of Galway city.

“They were the salt of the earth, a really well-respected family from the fishing village of Claddagh,” he said.

“They were real old Galway and I have never seen a tragedy to hit the whole city like this.

“The fishing community just drop everything whenever there is someone missing or in trouble and they are the first out there trying to help.

“Martin and Tom would have been no different, they would be the first out in the bay with their boat, searching for anyone who went missing.

“I think that is why they have touched every community in Galway, because they were so committed.

“It is like a dark cloud is over the city and I have met grown men throughout the city who are in tears.

“I have supported many of them over the last day or so and people are struggling to come to terms with this loss because they can relate to the family who were at the heart of Galway.”

According to Mayor Cubbard, the Oliver family have been renowned fishermen and seafarers for generations and many have served as lifeboat volunteers.

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In August, relations of theirs, Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, saved two cousins Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn after they drifted out to sea overnight.

Tributes have been pouring in online for the family including a poignant post from the Galway branch of the RNLI.

They wrote on Facebook: "We are deeply, deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Martin & Tom Oliver.

"Our Crew and all the team extends our sincere condolences to the Oliver Family especially our Crew members & many friends. May Martin & Tom Rest in Peace.

"Fair Winds & Following seas.

"LOM, Crew & Team, RNLI, Galway Lifeboat Station."

Tom and Martin's family have confirmed that their funeral details will be announced in the coming days.

A post on RIP.ie reads: "Father and son, Martin and Tom Oliver passed away suddenly following a fishing accident and are deeply mourned by their heartbroken, grieving family and friends.

"Funeral arrangements later. House Private."

And Mike has invited anyone who wishes to lend support to the family to join an online campaign - where supporters are asked to change their social media profile picture to a Claddagh ring.

“Martin and Tom were the best of friends and we joined at the hip,” he said.

“Wherever you would find Martin you would find Tom. They would do a turn for anyone who was looking for help.

“The family need time to grieve but the whole of Galway is standing behind them."

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