‘Mac succeeded in showing us the good in people’

THE family of Michael McGirr has paid a touching tribute to the much-loved Coa man, known to his friends as ‘Mac’, who they said “loved to bring people together.”
A major search involving multiple emergency services, numerous members of the local community, and many who travelled from outside Fermanagh to help, was launched after Mr McGirr went missing while boating on Lower Lough Erne on October 29th.
Police and the McGirr family announced on Saturday past, November 12th, that he had finally been found. His family have now thanked the many, many who gave up their time to help find Michael, and paid tribute to the popular 32-year-old.
In an emotional and beautifully written tribute posted online, Mr McGirr’s aunt Marie McGirr said she was writing on behalf of Michael’s mother’s Bernie, who had asked her to pass on the family’s thanks to all who had selflessly come out to join in the search. Ms McGirr noted there were “too many to offer individual thanks to.”
“The rainbow offered to those who loved Mac so much is the people who flocked to our side to help, offer support, pray, make food, walk and go out on the water on anything that floats to look for him. It has been truly so comforting that this whole community – not defined by borders or geography – have gathered around us,” she said.
Ms McGirr listed many examples of people who had paused their every day lives, even losing out on pay from work or who had rearranged their family life, to come out to help. She also noted businesses who had gave help without being asked or seeking publicity. She also thanked those who had been unable to come out but who had prayed at home.
She also thanked the Lough Erne Yacht Club, where the search had been coordinated from,
Referring to the emergency services, such as the RNLI and many other agencies including many who had travelled from afar to Fermanagh to aid in the search, Ms McGirr added, “There are another special group of people who Bernie also wishes to recognise and thank – the ones who deal with this type of trauma willingly, because it is their vocation in this life to help others.
“They come out each time there is a tragedy to help a family in need offering emotional and professional support.”
Ms McGirr added, “There are many stories of people who are unconnected but have been driven to help, like the four students who took a bus from Belfast and a taxi out to the Yacht Club just because they had read Bernie’s Facebook posts and wanted to help. Or the mother who drove two hours, re-arranging her childcare so she could spend some time searching. The uncle of a young man who had previously been lost in the Lough who offered endless support and encouragement to us, even when he is battling his own heartbreak.
“Whilst the loss is unbelievably painful, Mac has succeeded in showing us the good in people, the good in communities who stand together. He always believed in that, always loved it when people came together. Borders, genders, religion, colour, age, social status, who you are connected to are irrelevant. He is just a good cub. We love him and we miss him terribly.”
Michael is survived by his mother Bernie McCusker, stepfather Fintan McCusker, grandparents, nieces and nephews.

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