Galway drowning investigated


The Marine Casualty Investigation Board will continue its investigation into the death of a Connemara fisherman and the hospitalisation of his brother, following the capsize of their vessel in Galway Bay yesterday.

The gleoiteog McHughwas one of two Carna-based traditional craft en route from Kinvara to Rossaveal when it got into difficulty close to Kilcolgan point on the northern shore of Galway Bay.

The two crew on board, who have been named locally as brothers Johnny Sheáin Jeaic MacDonncha (67) and Josie Sheáin Jeaic MacDonncha (66), were thrown into the water. One of four crew on the second vessel, the Bláth na hÓige, jumped in to assist them, and both were taken on board that boat and the alarm was raised.

Valentia Coast Guard tasked the Irish Coast Guard Shannon-based helicopter and the Galway inshore lifeboat, Dóchas, to assist. One of the two brothers, Johnny Sheáin Jeaic, did not survive, in spite of efforts to revive him, and he was taken into Galway docks to a waiting ambulance by the lifeboat. He was married with a family.

His brother Josie Sheáin Jeaic was winched aboard the Shannon helicopter by winchman Jim O’Neill and taken to University College Hospital, Galway, and was said to be very shocked but recovering from his ordeal.

The rescue agencies reported that there was a heavy swell in the area at the time, although the forecast had been favourable.

The MacDonnachas, described by colleagues as among the most experienced Galway hooker skippers,had been due to take part in a hooker regatta in Rossaveal tomorrow, but it has been cancelled.

Both were involved in restoring craft and in training young sailors in south Connemara.

The brothers had taken part in the Cruinniú na mBád - gathering of the boats - festival in Kinvara two weeks ago and were sailing to Rossaveal to take part in a regatta today when the incident happened.

Dr Michael Brogan, organiser of the Cruinniú na mBád festival, said the brothers were experienced careful sailors. “It is very sad,” said Dr Brogan. “They would be well known in the sailing world as well as being well known sean-nós singers. They would have taught a lot of other people how to sail too.”