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'We're totally numbed': Tributes to two men who died after SUV was swept away in Christmas tragedy

27-year-old Martin Needham and 26-year-old Declan Davitt died in the accident.

Updated at 2.20pm

THE TWO MEN who died when their SUV was swept away by floodwaters in Co Mayo have been named.

Martin Needham (27) and Declan Davitt (26) died when their 4×4 vehicle entered the water of the Carrownisky River near Louisburgh in the early hours of Christmas Day.

pjimage Martin Needham (left) and Declan Davitt (right) Source: RIP.ie

It’s understood they were attempting to cross a stretch of the river that had become swollen after heavy rain.

A third occupant, aged 19, was able to escape the vehicle and raise the alarm.

The two men’s bodies were found after a large-scale search involving the Garda Water Unit, Irish Coast Guard members and local gardaí.

Funeral arrangements for the two young men, who were from the area, have been confirmed.

Martin Needham will be laid to rest following a funeral mass at the Church of the Holy Family, Killeen, on Thursday morning.

Declan Davitt’s funeral will take place at the same church the following day.

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring, who is from Mayo, has expressed his condolences to the families.

In a statement today, Ring said:

I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families of Declan Davitt and Martin Needham who have died in such tragic circumstances. I know the families of both men very well.
People throughout Mayo are shocked by this terrible tragedy. The community in Louisburgh shares the grief of the families and will support them in the difficult times ahead.

A number of local councillors have also expressed their condolences to the families.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Mayo county councillor Michael Holmes said:

“It would be a terrible tragedy at anytime of the year, but it is particularly tragic on Christmas morning.

They are three local, highly respected families in the area, they are really respected families. It’s just a real tragedy.
Too many people in the area couldn’t enjoy their Christmas dinner yesterday. It’s really sad, it has put a real cloud over the area.

In a message on Facebook, the local Macra na Feirme branch described it as an “unbelievably numbing day”, and said the two men had been valued members and “absolute gentlemen”.

Mayo county councillor Christy Hyland told TheJournal.ie: “Their families and friends are in our thoughts and our prayers at this very, very difficult time.

The whole community is totally numbed by this tragedy.

“The two men were at the prime of their lives. They had their whole lives ahead of them.”

mayo The tragedy happened near Louisburgh in Co Mayo. Source: Google Maps

The two men’s bodies were removed to Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar in the wake of yesterday’s search.

Post-mortem examinations are expected to take place today.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

Read: Coveney has no regrets about making promises about family homelessness >

Read: Bodies of two men found after car goes into river in Co Mayo >

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