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Teelin Pier. Google.

Man who died in Donegal diving event tragedy named locally

The North-West Dive Rally was taking place over the weekend, with competitors having travelled from across the country to be there.


A DIVER WHO died tragically off the coast of Donegal on Saturday has been named locally as Patrick Doran.

Mr Doran, who was in his 40s, was originally from Leitrim Village in Co Leitrim.

He was one of more than 100 divers from across the country who took part in a planned two day event organised by the Donegal Bay Sub Aqua Club.

The event, the North West Dive Rally, had planned a number of dives on Saturday and Sunday at Malin Beg and Sliabh Liag.

However, around midday on Saturday the alarm was raised after two divers got into difficulty.

A major search and rescue operation was launched which was co-ordinated by the Malin Head Coastguard Station.

The operation involved a number of agencies including the Killybegs Coast Guard, An Garda Siochana, the National Ambulance Service, shore crews and also the Rescue 118 helicopter.

Hope turned to despair however, when one missing diver was recovered from the sea and pronounced dead at the scene.

A second diver who was also missing managed to get to the surface.

He was treated at the scene and immediately rushed to University Hospital in Galway for treatment.

The man, who is in his 60s, was treated for decompression sickness known as the bends.

The tragedy has sent shockwaves through the local community of south Donegal.

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council and local Killybegs-based county councillor Niamh Kennedy said her heart “missed a beat” when she heard of the tragedy.

She said “When you live in a coastal area you are always wary of the dangers the sea poses and unfortunately tragedy has visited us once more.

“It is only when a tragedy like this visits your community that you realise how dangerous the sea really is. My heart missed a beat when I heard this awful news.

“Our hearts go out to this man and his poor family and all that they are going through. We pray for them and we pray for the second man who was thankfully rescued and we hope that he will make a full recovery.

“My thoughts too are with the Donegal Bay Sun Aqua Club who hosted this event and we hope that they are not suffering too much.”

Councillor Kennedy also paid tribute to all those who took part in the search and rescue mission.

She added “We have to pay tribute to all these volunteers who risk their own lives in these circumstances and every time something tragic like this happens.

“We sometimes forget about them when tragedies happen but we would be lost without them and I want to pay tribute to each and every one of them who was there yesterday.”

A decision to cancel the rest of the weekend diving event was taken immediately after the tragedy.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said that the Irish Coast Guard Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) in Malin had responded to a diving incident in Teelin at around 12.20pm yesterday.



The GAA club of which the late Mr Doran was a member this afternoon paid tribute to the married father of three.

St. Mary’s GAA Club, Kiltoghert said he was “a true Gael, loyal friend, and loving family man”.

An online tribute from the club also remembered Mr Doran’s family at this time.

“Paddy was born in Sheafield, with his brothers and sisters, Anna Marie, James, Colm, Richie, Dearbhla and Melissa, outside Leitrim Village, to Bridie and the late Jim Doran, another great St. Mary’s Kiltoghert man. He received his education in Leitrim Village NS and Carrick-on-Shannon Vocational School before studying engineering at third level.

“Paddy married his childhood sweetheart, Siobhan Moran, Drumsna, and settled in Finisklin, Effrinagh, where they were blessed with three wonderful children Emmet, Caoimhe and Eibhlín.

“Paddy’s involvement with Saint Mary’s Kiltoghert goes right back to his childhood, where he represented the club and won titles at every underage grade. He not only represented the club with distinction, but also represented Leitrim at U-16, U-18 and U-21. His love of sport extended beyond football and he played hurling, soccer, basketball, and athletics.

“Paddy continued to play for Saint Mary’s Kiltoghert into adulthood, winning medals at intermediate and senior levels. He captained the intermediate winning team of 1995. He was also selector in 2000. One of Paddy’s proudest achievements was that of player manager of the championship wining junior B team of 2006.

“There’s many a man around the county who still grimace at the mention of his name as they recall being on the receiving end of one of Paddy’s legendary shoulder tackles.

“Like his father before him, Paddy’s role in the club extended beyond his playing days. He accepted numerous officer roles within the club, most noticeably that of PRO.

During the dark days of Covid, Paddy brought a ray of sunshine into our lives as he was pivotal in the live streaming of championship matches into our living rooms while games were played behind closed doors.

“Who could forget the ‘sideways stream’ from Pairc Naomh Mhuire. He revelled in the teasing he got from that one!

“Always one for the underdog, Paddy ensured that the club always entered third and fourth teams where possible and took on managerial positions to ensure their success.

“Paddy was more than a club member, the club was a part of him. There was nothing Paddy would not do to ensure we all got the club he felt we deserved. From committees, to officer roles, to donning a high-vis vest to ensure everyone’s safety on match day, Paddy was always there.

“His straight talking, no nonsense, man of action approach endeared him to all who met him. His sad passing leaves a void in our club and our lives which will never be replaced.

“We know our huge loss is shared with other clubs, especially Leitrim Gaels, with whom Paddy shared a wide circle of friends.

“Words cannot describe the heartbreak we feel for his loving wife, Siobhan, his children Emmet Caoimhe, and Eibhlín, his mother Bridie, his brothers, sisters, extended family, neighbours and many many friends, and to you all, we extend our deepest sympathies.”

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Stephen Maguire