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All corners of Co Clare have been hit hard by the tragic death of twenty year old, Fionn O’Brien.

Fionn died on Monday after what members of the Clare division of An Garda Síochána described as a tragic accident.

He was surfing at Lough Donnell in Quilty when an alarm was raised shortly after 8am. The Shannon based helicopter R115 transferred him to University Hospital Limerick with CPR administered at the scene and also as he was airlifted to hospital. He was sadly pronounced dead at UHL.

As a mark of respect, Lifeguard Stations on all Council beaches will be closed on Thursday until 2pm as a mark of respect with the Lifeguard Station at Bishops Quarter closed all day.

Widespread condolences have been extended to the O’Brien family including his father Pat originally from Hermitage, his mother Michelle an employee at O’Connell’s Medical Hall on Abbey St and Fionn’s siblings Conor, Niall and Saidhbh. The O’Briens were on Tuesday described by Clare County Council engineer Seán Lenihan as “stalwarts of the Roslevan community”.

From Knockanean, Fionn was a lifeguard with Clare County Council and played both hurling and football with St Josephs Doora/Barefield. In a statement, the club detailed that his name will always be mentioned in glowing terms and his memory never forgotten, “Fionn was a very talented dual player with the club blessed with great skill and lightning speed. Even at such a young age he had already contributed hugely with the promise of a lot more to come”. Honours won included U14 and U16 hurling titles and an U18 football title. “His goal to draw the U16 hurling final in 2017 will always be spoken of and reminisced about. Only last Friday in what ultimately proved to be his last game for the club Fionn scored a goal for the Intermediate hurlers with the last play of the match”.

Heartfelt sympathies were expressed by Rice College where Fionn attended secondary school. “We remember Fionn as a wonderful, smiling and talented young man and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him”.

On the rugby field, Fionn first joined Ennis RFC as a mini player and became an outstanding fullback for successful underage sides. “He was a terrific talent and a great team player. He was a natural sportsman who excelled across several codes,” the club stated.

Tuesday’s meeting of the West Clare Municipal District was adjourned as a mark of respect to Fionn as proposed by Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF). The Kilkee representative said, “I would like to extend our sincerest condolences to Fionn’s family We would also like to extend our sympathies to all Fionn’s friends and colleagues, on the pitch and on the water, especially those who worked with him in our lifeguard service here in West Clare. These are young people who are not afraid to put their own lives at risk in the service of others in the community and to lose one of their own is undoubtedly a terrible shock”.

Cllr Joe Garrihy (FG) worked with Fionn during his pool lifeguard training at Lahinch Seaworld, “you couldn’t meet a nicer lad”. “The loss of any staff member at any time is a tragedy whether they are in service or retired, this is a particularly sad loss,” Director of Service, Leonard Cleary commented.

A minute’s silence was held at Tuesday’s Ennis Municipal District. Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Ann Norton (IND) stated, “it is a very very tragic death and no doubt a very difficult loss of such a young man”. Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) added, “They are neighbours on the Tulla Rd, their children are the same age as some of my own children, it is a very sad day”.

“He went out for a surf with three of his friends, four of them went home and three went home. It should never happen. There was a huge sense of shock that something so tragic could happen to someone who was so proficient in the water,” Cllr Mary Howard (FG) reflected.

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