Communities united in trawler tragedy

Communities united in trawler tragedy


The Catholic priest ministering to the bereaved of the Union Hall tragedy in Cork has spoken of the overwhelming ”spirit of unity” that has marked the community’s response to the loss of the trawler Tit Bonhomme with five lives.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic from the quayside as the search for the last two bodies from the sinking entered its second week, Fr Pierce Cormac praised all involved in events for the ”total commitment to the endeavour” demonstrated.

”People are here from very early in the morning, and until about eight at night,” Fr Cormac said. ”There is such dedication.”

The priest, currently chaplain with the Mercy University Hospital in Cork, returned to his home parish of Union Hall as news of the trawler sinking broke on January 15 to assist with the concerned people, Irish and Egyptian, gathering on the quay for word of their loved ones.

The result of this coming together under the bleakest of circumstances, Fr Cormac said, was that ”people have bonded more in the last few days”. He said he had personally witnessed ”the great outreaching and support on all sides”.

Part of that support, he went on, is the shared prayer that marks the end of each day’s search, when the whole community, from Catholic, Church of Ireland and Muslim traditions, joins together.

Fr Cormac said that daily event was fostering ”a great inclusivity, a wonderfully positive spirit. People are gaining great strength from it and it brings a blessing and closure at the end of each day.”

In the heart of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Fr Cormac said: ”Our unity week has become a daily event here.”

The Union Hall Trawler Victim Support Fund is currently seeking funds to help support the five families involved in the Tit Bonhomme tragedy.

Donations can be made to AIB Skibbereen, sorting code 93-63-75, account number 10009183.