Crash victim Ronan Melarkey's 'selfless' final gift
The heartbroken older brother of a young man who died in a tragic Co Fermanagh road crash last week has paid tribute to his sibling as a "selfless" person who "dedicated his life to others".
Ronan Melarkey (21), along with lifelong friend Luke Lynch (22), died following the incident on the Clones Road in Newtownbutler nine days ago.
Now Ronan's family have told the Belfast Telegraph of their pride that he donated all of his organs to help those on the transplant waiting list.
Ronan's brother Emmlyn (26) said his "special and unique" little brother joined the organ donor register while he was a teenager. He described Ronan as "a man who was always giving rather than receiving".
"He was very selfless and he dedicated his life to others," he said.
Ronan made the decision to volunteer as an organ donor at the age of 17, after his mother Tina - who passed away in April last year - was diagnosed with cancer four years ago.
Emmlyn said: "He donated his organs because he loved his mother, and he has gone now to her and that is all that matters."
Ronan and Luke, who had been friends since primary school, had been driving home with their friend Conan Connolly on Sunday, August 20, when the blue Peugeot 206 they were travelling in collided with a tree on the Clones Road at around 8.45pm.
Luke, who was driving the vehicle, died at the scene, while Ronan died later in hospital. Conan was injured, but is now recovering.
As well as his brother Emmlyn, Ronan is survived by his sister Stephanie (28) and father Patrick (56).
Voicing his admiration for his brother, Emmlyn said: "We are very proud of him, that he made that decision.
"This has been the worst week of our lives, having to say goodbye to Ronan, you never think of preparing yourself for something like this.
"We wouldn't wish it on anyone, but we are very proud to call him a brother and a son and to know that he is still helping others."
Talking about how the small town of Newtownbutler is recovering from the loss of the two young men, Emmlyn explained that there is still a real sense of shock.
"I think everyone is still in a state of shock that this has actually happened, there is a sense of broken-heartedness," he said.
"Ronan was a true gentleman, the type that everyone always wanted to speak to.
"The turnout at his funeral was one of the biggest that Newtownbutler has ever seen, everyone who he had touched in some way came to see him off."
Emmlyn added: "He died with his best friend and we can't forget Luke's family in all of this, they are grieving too.
"Conan has also had a very tough time, thankfully he is recovering well."