Belfast Telegraph

Boat tragedy brothers 'decent lads'

Three brothers who drowned when their fishing vessel overturned at sea were decent men trying to earn a living, it has been said.

The tragedy unfolded off the south-west coast of Ireland when their 18 foot punt type boat did not return to a Co Waterford harbour.

The three have been named locally as Paul, Shane and Kenny Bolger, who were all aged in their 40s and originally from Passage East in the county. It is understood both Paul and Shane were married with children.

Sinn Fein councillor Pat Fitzgerald, whose wife is a cousin of the men, said all three were experienced sea-goers who had fished since they were young boys.

"We would have known and grown up with them," he said. "They were good, nice, hard-working lads. Decent lads. Well-liked, popular people. They will be sorely missed. They always worked and tried to make a living for themselves."

The alarm was raised at around 5.30pm on Wednesday when the 18 foot vessel, which had left before 9am to haul lobster pots, did not return to Dunmore East.

It had last been seen at midday about half a mile south of Brownstown Head, between Tramore Bay and Dunmore East. The Irish Coast Guard said weather conditions deteriorated during the day with west to south-west force four winds recorded during the recovery operation.

The Waterford-based Coast Guard helicopter, Dunmore East Lifeboat and Tramore Lifeboat were immediately sent to the scene and en-route to Brownstown Head, the helicopter spotted the stricken, semi-submerged vessel in the water.

The helicopter crew found the first man's body a short time later, with Dunmore East RNLI recovering the other two men. All three were later pronounced dead, gardai confirmed.

Dunmore East RNLI Coxswain Michael Griffin said: "I knew the men personally and had been at school with two of them. They were well known and respected by everyone. I wish to offer my condolences and those of Dunmore East and Tramore RNLI to their family."

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