Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Teen is laid to rest in final sad chapter of drowning tragedy

Mourners at the funeral of a tragic teen whose body was recovered from waters off the Donegal coast heard how the family's "anguish of waiting around the shores of the Swilly is probably beyond anything we can imagine".

Hundreds gathered yesterday to say a sad farewell to Sean McNair, whose heartbroken mother Jackie led mourners from her home in Londonderry's Creggan estate as she prepared to bury her only son.

The 17-year-old's classmates from St Columb's College wore their school uniforms and formed a guard of honour as the cortege bearing his remains was carried into St Mary's Chapel.

The church was packed out for the funeral Mass, which took place almost two weeks after Sean went missing off Rathmullan pier on July 16.

The teenager had been celebrating a friend's birthday and was part of a group who had entered the water when he disappeared.

Over the past two weeks hundreds of volunteers from Derry and Donegal, including relatives and young friends of Sean, gathered daily to aid rescue teams from across Ireland in searching the waters of Lough Swilly.

His remains were eventually recovered last Sunday, 300 metres north of the pier where he disappeared.

Members of the Lough Swilly Lifeboat Crew, who led the search, attended the service yesterday.

In a symbolic bringing together of the Derry and Donegal congregations numbed by the tragedy, the funeral Mass was concelebrated by Creggan parish priest, Fr Stephen McLaughlin, and Fr Martin Collum from Rathmullan.

Speaking during the Homily, Fr McLaughlin said the gathering took place with heavy hearts "because today there is a letting go, and it involves a young lad of just 17 years, who in our view had so much more of life to live, of adventures to experience, of hopes to fulfil and dreams to realise".

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