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The late Fionn O' Brien was described as a person with a "well of endless potential" at his Funeral Mass in the Church of Our Lady, Fahy Hall, Roslevan on Thursday. Photograph by John Kelly.

Fionn remembered as a ‘wonderful, smiling and talented young man’


A MINUTE’S silence was held at the monthly meeting of the Ennis Municipal District this week following the tragic death of young lifeguard Fionn O’Brien.
Meanwhile, the chaplain of Fionn’s former secondary school in Ennis has offered its support to past and present students affected by the loss.
The 20-year-old, who was from a well-known Ennis family and lived on the Tulla Road, died after getting into difficulty while surfing off Lough Donnell beach on Monday.
Fionn has been remembered as a “wonderful, smiling and talented young man” by his former school Rice College.
A statement issued on behalf of the school states, “The Staff and Board of Management of Rice College would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to the O’Brien family on the tragic death of their beautiful son, our past pupil, Fionn. To Fionn’s parents, Pat and Michelle, and his siblings Niall, Conor and Saidhbh, you are in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.
“Our chaplain, Fr Tom Ryan is available to support any of our past or present students affected by Fionn’s untimely passing.”
The statement continued, “We remember Fionn as a wonderful, smiling and talented young man and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Fionn O’Brien, Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé.”
Tributes were paid to the youngster by councillors and the council executive at the Ennis Municipal District with a vote of sympathy extended to his family. Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Ann Norton described Fionn’s passing as “a very, very tragic death” and a “very difficult loss” for the family. She acknowledged Fionn’s work as a lifeguard for Clare County Council.
Councillor Pat Daly said, “This is a very sad situation for the O’Brien family. Fionn was such a sporty guy, playing for St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield and he is from a very well known family.”
Also paying tribute, Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy said, “It’s so, so sad to hear of a young life gone so suddenly and so tragically.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn commented that the O’Brien family are neighbours of his on the Tulla Road and his children are of similar age to Fionn.
“It’s a very sad day for the O’Brien family.”
Fionn’s passing has resulted in a “huge sense of shock” in the community, Councillor Mary Howard stated saying, “our hearts are broken for all his family”.
“He went out yesterday morning with three friends, and three out of the four of them came home. That should never happen, particularly to somebody who was so proficient in the water. There is a huge sense of shock that something so tragic could happen.”
She also voiced concern for Fionn’s friends, particularly those who were at the scene when the tragic accident occurred. “I would say they are heart broken today.”
Councillor Paul Murphy also offered his sympathy to the O’Brien family, adding “Ar dheis Dé go raibh sé”.
The minute’s silence was proposed by Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy and supported by the council.
Speaking on behalf of the council executive Sean Lenihan, senior engineer, said that the O’Brien family were “great stalwarts” of the local community saying the council’s thoughts and prayers were with all “affected by this terrible tragedy.”
Fionn’s funeral cortege will leave his residence on Thursday for Mass at 11am in Church of Our Lady, Fahy Hall, Roslevan, with burial afterwards in Drumcliffe Cemetery.
In compliance with current HSE guidelines, the number of people attending Funeral Mass and the burial ceremony, is limited to a maximum of 50.
As a mark of respect O’Connell’s Medical Hall, Abbey Street, Ennis, will be closed on Thursday.
Clare County Council has advised that the Lifeguard Stations on all Council beaches will be closed on Thursday until 2pm as a mark of respect, while the Lifeguard Station at Bishop’s Quarter will remain closed all day on Thursday.

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