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sad loss Young father who died in tragic kayak accident remembered as a 'selfless hero'

At his funeral this morning, the priest paid tribute to Declan Reid as a hero who will be remembered for his selfless act before his death.


Declan Reid.

Declan Reid.

Declan Reid.

The dad who drowned after a boating accident on the River Barrow in Kildare last Sunday week has been remembered as a man who gave his life so that his son could live.

Declan Reid (34), had been boating with his eight-year-old son at Ardreigh Lock near Athy beside his old family home at around 3pm on February 28 when their boat overturned.

Mr Reid managed to keep his son afloat and raise the alarm, and a young man, Scott McQuaid (23), who was passing-by jumped in and made it back to the riverbank after rescuing the boy.

But when he went back to save Declan he could not be seen.

Mr Reid’s father Paul jumped into the river in a frantic effort to find his son but by then the current is believed to have swept him downstream, and he was forced to retreat back to the safety of the riverbank.

After days of searching by Gardai, the Civil Defence, and scores of volunteers, Declan’s body was eventually found on Saturday last.

At his funeral this morning in St Peter The Apostle Church, in Dublin’s Neilstown, the priest paid tribute to Declan as a hero who will be remembered for his selfless act before his death.

Meanwhile, Declan’s sister Roisin has paid tribute to all the people involved in the search for his body and for bringing him home to them.

She thanked all those who had searched the riverbed and banks for nearly a week until her brother’s body was found.

“Everybody was fantastic. I was assured that nobody would stop until Declan was found. The search effort left us in awe of all those people that helped,” she said.

“Many of those who searched were volunteers from far away who rang their workplaces and told them they would not be in work because they were searching for Declan. We couldn’t believe their dedication and we thank them for it,” she added.

Garda divers were joined by more than 80 members of the Civil Defence from Kildare, Laois,Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Dublin, and local kayakers, in the coordinated searches.

“If we asked for any area to be searched a second time it would be done for our peace of mind. We just can’t thank people enough,” said Roisin.

Speaking about Scott McQuaid, who jumped into the river and brought the young boy to safety, Roisin said he is a hero in their eyes.

“He saved my nephew, my godson. He will always be a hero to us,” she explained.

Roisin said Declan’s son, who was brought to hospital following his ordeal in the water, is now back home.

“He is only eight and we will be guided by him in how he deals with this,” she said, adding that he is old enough to know what has happened but young enough to maybe not fully understand it.

Declan’s partner Fiona is expecting their first child together in the coming months. The couple lived in Clondalkin.

Declan’s family home is right beside the river where the tragedy took place, and the family live in the house that used to be the lock keeper’s home.

Ardreigh Lock is positioned where the Grand Canal meets the Barrow and is now a popular walking trail.

Online Editors

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