No emerging trend among six diving deaths, governing body says

Irish Underwater Council expresses condolences to bereaved families and friends

The Irish Underwater Council, the national governing body for divers, has said it is "shocked by the unprecedented occurrence" of six recreational diving fatalities in Irish waters over four weeks between mid-June and mid-July.

However, it has said that a “high level analysis” suggests there is “no emerging trend” among the six incidents.

The council's spokesman Niall Stapleton, a former national diving officer, urges enthusiasts to ensure that they are medically fit and that all their equipment is regularly serviced and in good working condition.

In a statement, the Irish Underwater Council said that it would like to offer its “sincere condolences to the family, friends and dive buddies of the recently deceased divers” on behalf of its 2,000 members.


“We are especially saddened by the death of one of our own members during this unprecedented time,”it said. “We further wish to acknowledge the role of the professional and voluntary emergency services in assisting divers in distress.”

This was a tribute to John McNally (45) from Limerick Sub Aqua Club , the first of the six fatalities, when he got into difficulty when diving on a German U-boat off Roche's Point at the mouth of Cork harbour on June 14th.

A 45-year-old Polish national died on June 15th near Inishtrahull, off Malin Head, Co Donegal, and two English divers aged 61 and 66 respectively lost their lives during an expedition to the German U260 submarine wreck lying in 42 metres of water some 6km off the west Cork coast.

Last weekend, experienced diving instructor Rev Dr Stewart Jones (57) of Donemana Presbyterian Church near Strabane, Co Tyrone, died after he was struck by a freak wave on the surface off St John's Point, Co Donegal.

On Monday, July 14th, Kieran Flynn (49) of Kinnegad, Co Westmeath, died after he was airlifted to hospital when he encountered difficulties off Inishbofin, Co Galway.

Mr Flynn, also an experienced diver, was with a group from the Dublin University Sub Aqua Club which is affiliated to the British Sub Aqua Club network.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times