THE family of Michael McGirr have paid a moving tribute to the beloved Coa man, known to friends as ‘Mac’, who they say ‘loved bringing people together’.
A major search involving several emergency services, many members of the local community and many people who came from outside Fermanagh to help, was launched after Mr McGirr went missing while cruising the Lower Lough Ernest on October 29.
Police and the McGirr family announced last Saturday, November 12, that he had finally been found. His family have now thanked the many, many who volunteered their time to help find Michael, and paid tribute to the popular 32-year-old.
In a moving and beautifully written tribute posted online, Mr McGirr’s aunt, Marie McGirr, said she was writing on behalf of Bernie, Michael’s mother, who had asked her to convey the family’s thanks to all those who had lost interest in joining the search. Ms McGirr noted there were “too many to thank individually”.
“The rainbow given to those who loved Mac so much was the people who flocked to our side to help, offer support, pray, make food, walk and get out on the water on everything. floating around looking for him. It’s really so heartwarming that this whole community – not defined by borders or geography – has come together around us,” she said.
Ms McGirr listed numerous examples of people who had interrupted their daily lives, even losing their wages at work or who had rearranged their family life, to come to help. She also noted companies that had helped out without being asked or advertised. She also thanked those who couldn’t come out but prayed at home.
She also thanked the Lough Erne Yacht Club, from where the search had been coordinated,
Referring to emergency services, such as the RNLI and many other agencies, many of whom had traveled from far and wide to Fermanagh to help with the search, Ms McGirr added: ‘There is another special group of people that Bernie wants also recognize and thank – those who willingly experience this type of trauma, for it is their calling in this life to help others.
“They come out whenever there is a tragedy to help a family in need by offering emotional and professional support.”
Ms McGirr added: ‘There are many stories of people who are not connected but have been brought in to help, such as the four students who took a bus from Belfast and a taxi to the Yacht Club simply because they had read Bernie’s Facebook posts and wanted to help. Or the mother who drove two hours, rearranging her childcare so she could spend some time searching. The uncle of a young man who had once been lost in the Lough who gave us endless support and encouragement, even as he struggled with his own grief.
“While the loss is incredibly painful, Mac was able to show us the good in people, the good in communities that hold together. He always believed in it, he always loved it when people came together. Boundaries, genders , religion, color, age, social status, who you are connected to is irrelevant. He’s just a good little one. We love him and miss him terribly.”
Michael is survived by his mother Bernie McCusker, stepfather Fintan McCusker, grandparents, nieces and nephews.
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Posted: 10:00 a.m. Nov 19, 2022