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05th Jul 2024

Body recovered off the coast of Galway identified as ‘well-known’ fisherman

Stephen Porzio

‘A very sad day for Inishbofin.’

A man whose body was recovered from the water off the coast of Galway this week has been named locally as 51-year-old fisherman John Burke.

Speaking to RTÉ News at One on Thursday (4 July), Divisional Controller at the Valencia Coordination Centre John Draper said that just after 10.15 pm on Wednesday, Malin Coast Guard were alerted to an incident involving an overdue crab fisherman from Inishbofin.

Malin Head immediately then initiated a search with the Coast Guard Helicopter from Sligo and RNLI lifeboats from Clifden.

“It was understood the fisherman was overdue from the previous evening and was hauling pots east of the island,” Draper explained.

“Just before midnight, Rescue 118 spotted the upturned boat and shortly after that, the helicopter was able to confirm visual with members of the local community who’d found the body on the northern shore of the island.”

Draper also said the sea was “relatively rough” during the search.

It has since been reported that the body belonged to Mr. Burke, who has been described by Connemara North councillor Gerry King as a “very well-known fisherman locally” and also someone “well-known in the farming community for sheep dealing”.

The councillor also said he was saddened by the fisherman’s death, describing it as a “big loss to his family and the community”.

Many also took to the comment section in a tribute post to Mr. Burke on the Inishbofin Heritage Museum & Gift Shop Facebook page to pay their respects to the late fisherman.

“May You Rest In Peace John. You have been a great neighbour and friend to us, your efforts and time never measured by you but immeasurable to us,” one person wrote.

“Absolute gentleman. Meeting John was always a highlight of the trip out to Boffin. Rest in peace John,” another said.

“A very sad day for Inishbofin,” a third wrote.

In a statement to JOE, a Garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí in Letterfrack assisted the Coastguard and RNLI in a search and recovery operation in Inishbofin, Galway.

“The body of a man, aged in his late 50s, was recovered from the water in the early hours of Thursday 4th July, 2024. It has since been removed to the mortuary in University Hospital Galway where a post mortem will take place in due course.

“A file will be prepared for the Coroner’s Court.”

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