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Divers from the Garda Water Unit have recovered the body of a man from the base of a cliff in Clare after a week of poor conditions hampered previous efforts.

Garda divers recover body from base of Clare cliff

DIVERS from the Garda Water Unit have recovered the body of a man from the base of a cliff after a week of poor conditions hampered previous efforts, reports Pat Flynn.

The operation was completed this morning having been postponed as a result of poor weather since the alarm was first raised last weekend. Emergency services were alerted on Sunday after a person was seen falling from the Cliffs of Moher. The man is believed to have been living in the east of the country.

Watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub centre on Valentia Island in Kerry mounted and coordinated a multi-agency search operation.

Gardaí responded to the scene while the Shannon-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter – Rescue 115 – the Doolin unit of the Coast Guard, National Ambulance Service, Aran Islands RNLI lifeboat were all tasked to the incident.

While search crews were able to pinpoint the location of the body at the base of the cliff, weather conditions at the scene were too poor. Rough seas and low visibility hampered any effort to recover the body so the recovery operation was stood down as light also began to fade.

Divers from the Garda Water Unit travelled to Clare on Monday to assist in the recovery operation however conditions remained poor and so no attempt was made to reach the body. Conditions during the week were also deemed unsuitable to effect a recovery operation.

Garda divers and Doolin Coast Guard volunteers travelled to the scene on Thursday by boat to investigate whether conditions would allow a safe recovery but there was still a large surf at the base of the cliffs. A further attempt to try and recover the remains was abandoned on Friday morning.

The Garda Water Unit launched two boats from the pier at Doolin shortly after 10.00am today and made their way to the scene accompanied by a boat crew from Doolin Coast Guard.

After carrying out a risk assessment at the scene, Garda divers made their way ashore and recovered the man’s body in an operation that took over an hour. The body was taken back to Doolin Coast Guard station where a doctor was waiting to formally pronounce the man dead and a priest administered last rites.

The body was later taken by hearse to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination will be carried out.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that the man’s body was recovered this morning by Garda divers and that the death is being treated as a ‘personal tragedy’.

The county coroner in Clare has been notified of the death and Gardaí will now prepare a file for the coroner who will conduct an inquest at a later date.

During the week, members of Garda Air Support Unit launched a drone to investigate whether the body had been moved with the tides while volunteers from the Irish Coast Guard Search Drone team based at Cleggan in Galway also joined the operation.

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