St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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Brian McDaid tragedy

Monday.  Bank Holiday.  May 5, 2008.  The sun was shining and it was a beautiful pleasant day.  Yet it became one of the darkest days our community has known.  A tragic death took place on the outskirts of the village of St Johnston.

A holiday from school brought all the young people in the area out to enjoy the warm summer weather.  They were after some fun and adventure.  The River Foyle provided a natural attraction for a few of the young fellows.  Brian McDaid aged thirteen, a student in Deele College, Raphoe, was one of them.  Like many other young lads, he had enjoyed many days of harmless fun along the river bank.

Brian was swept away by the tide about 5 O' Clock.  His comrades ran away from the scene when they saw they could do nothing for him.  They raised the alarm in the hope that some miracle could take place.  Friends and neighbours made their way to the river bank to offer their help and support.  Those with boats were quickly on the river frantically trying to find Brian. 

The rescue services were quickly on the scene with the sub aqua team, rescue helicopters, civil defence and local Gardai.  To them, local fishermen offered their experience and expert knowledge of the tides and the ways of the river to aid in the search.

Meanwhile, on the banks of the river and in their homes, the community kept a vigil of silent prayers and offerings that Brian would be found.  Shortly after 9pm, local man Christy McCarron retrieved Brian's body from the river.  Phonsie McDermott from Burt brought him ashore at Carrigans on his boat, The Spirit of Aidan.

Brian was waked at his home in Ard na Meala, St Johnston.  He was buried on Thursday May 8 in the cemetery of St Baithin's Church, St Johnston.  He was survived by his father, Damien, mother Geraldine (formerly Gallagher), sisters Danielle and Ariea and brother James.

Geraldine organised a dance in memory of Brian at Biddy Friel's Drumughill.  15,000 Euro was raised and divided between the lifeboat at Greencastle and Foyle Search and Rescue who had been involved in the search for Brian.

In a report made by Ellen Doherty, a journalist from St Johnston with the Donegal People's Press, Geraldine stated, "People keep saying I'm brave and strong but inside I'm screaming.  The only consolation is knowing that I'm getting my strength from Brian.  I'm standing on his shoulders and he's working miracles everyday".

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