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Diving tragedy brothers remembered as valued members of the community

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The coffins of brothers Fergus and Philip Brophy are brought to their final resting place in the cemetery beside St John’s Church in Killenard

The coffins of brothers Fergus and Philip Brophy are brought to their final resting place in the cemetery beside St John’s Church in Killenard

The coffins of brothers Fergus and Philip Brophy are brought to their final resting place in the cemetery beside St John’s Church in Killenard

Two brothers who died in a scuba diving accident have been remembered as men with a passion for life and sport who were loved and valued members of the community.

Fergus Brophy (42) and his brother Philip (34), from Lough, near Portarlington, Co Laois, had gone to the Portroe dive centre near Nenagh last Sunday morning to try out a new underwater scooter.

The water at the old quarry is up to 40 metres deep and is used as a diving and training centre.

At 1.30pm, Fergus surfaced and raised the alarm but then fell unconscious and died.

Support

He was taken from the surface, and Philip's body was then recovered by divers from a point deep under water.

The funerals of the two brothers took place yesterday at St John's Church in the village of Killenard, Portarlington.

Covid-19 restrictions meant only a small number of mourners could attend in person in the church.

Neighbours and friends gathered at the entrance to lend their support to the family.

The two men are survived by their parents Dinah and Seamus, brothers James and Patrick, sister Emma and Fergus' wife Michelle.

The two hearses carrying the coffins drove slowly to the church, with the family walking behind them, flanked by members of the local O'Dempseys GAA club.

A framed photo of Fergus and Philip standing side by side, which was taken at Fergus' wedding, was placed on the altar

Symbols brought to the altar to represent the brothers' interests and achievements included a set of darts, a jersey from O'Dempseys, a Leinster rugby jersey and a Laois county GAA jersey, brought by their father.

Their mother brought Philip's Ironman medal which he received in France.

A model tractor represented their farming background.

In his homily, parish priest Fr Tim Dooley said the news of the deaths of Fergus and Philip was a message that shocked and saddened all who knew them.

"We could scarcely believe it on Sunday evening, and we can scarcely believe it now," he said.

"We have lost two valued and loved members of our community.

"All of us have questions. Why did this happen? And one question in the minds of the family - could we not have them back?

"Could these unbelievable days be wiped out? Could we be awakened from this nightmare that overwhelms us?"

"There are no satisfactory words to soften the loss.

"We give thanks for all they achieved. We think of all they have done, and the light and love they brought to all that knew them. We thank the Lord for their love and friendship."

After mass, the coffins were carried to the adjoining cemetery where the brothers were buried side by side.