Town mourns fisherman Jamie, 'a man with a heart of gold who'd help anyone'
The seaside town of Skerries was brought to a standstill as nearly 1,000 mourners paid their respects to Jamie McAllister, the young fisherman who drowned at the weekend.
St Patrick's Church was full to overflowing yesterday as heartbroken relatives, friends and local people said farewell to the popular young man (28), whose body was recovered from the sea near the local harbour on Saturday.
The close-knit community was united in grief as the funeral cortege made its way to the church from the McAllister family home in Mourne View.
Mourners observed a minute's silence while overlooking the section of the bay where Jamie's body was recovered.
Volunteers from the RNLI and Irish Coast Guard formed a guard of honour as his remains were taken to the church for Requiem Mass.
His wide circle of friends and family, including his uncle Keith McAllister who survived the fishing accident on Friday, wore orange ribbons symbolising Jamie's love of all things Dutch.
A Dutch football jersey as well as a book about motorbike legend Joey Dunlop and a set of car keys were among the tokens symbolising his passion for cars and motorbike racing as well as Dutch culture.
But Jamie's first love was his family, including his mother Elaine, father Troy, sister Ela and brother Ryan and his large, extended family, parish priest Fr Richard Hyland told the congregation.
A family spokesperson thanked the "huge number" of people who had called at the McAllister home over the past few days to offer their condolences.
He also offered a prayer for the emergency services, including the Coast Guard, Naval Service, gardai and RNLI, who launched a massive search off the coast on Friday when the razor clam boat that Jamie's uncle was skippering capsized and sank 500 metres from shore.
Fr Hyland spoke of the "life-giving blessing of the sea", but also about how people living in coastal communities are painfully aware that at times it also takes away.
"And that's the tragedy that we faced last Friday with the tragic loss of Jamie at sea," he added.
Friends paid tribute to Jamie as a happy young man with a "heart of gold" who would do anything for anyone.
"Jamie was the kind of bloke who could go anywhere with anyone," said one mourner.
He added that he would remember him "with a cheesy smile on his face, having a laugh".
Jamie was buried at the nearby Ardla Cemetery in the town.