| 12.1°C Dublin

Missing Fungie 'part of my family's life for years', says worried Miriam

Close

‘Hope he returns. He never let us down. 2020 has been bad enough’, the Prime Time presenter posted on social media

‘Hope he returns. He never let us down. 2020 has been bad enough’, the Prime Time presenter posted on social media

‘Hope he returns. He never let us down. 2020 has been bad enough’, the Prime Time presenter posted on social media

Prime Time host Miriam O'Callaghan has spoken of her hopes for the return of Dingle's Fungie, saying he has been "a constant for decades in my family's life".

It comes as a massive search operation resumed in Kerry at first light yesterday amid mounting fears for the safety of the treasured dolphin.

Posting footage of the famous dolphin on social media, Ms O'Callaghan said: "He never let us down. Hope he returns. 2020 has been bad enough."

Kerry fishermen and tourism officials fear the celebrated dolphin may either be sick or have died after three days of intensive searching off Dingle failed to find him.

Despite a reported sighting of the beloved common bottlenose dolphin last Thursday morning, there has been no trace of Fungie in Dingle Bay on Friday, Saturday or yesterday.

Concern over Fungie's fate has even been raised within the Government, and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said he hoped Ireland's favourite dolphin was found safe and well to offer "some good news" to the nation.

Eight boats searched for the third day yesterday, concentrating on the extended waters around the west Cork port where Fungie normally patrols his traditional patch.

He wasn't seen last Wednesday - and, despite the sighting on Thursday morning by a local fisherman, there was no trace of Fungie since.

The search has now been extended to a near 15km stretch of coastline off Dingle.

This is far wider than Fungie's normal area of activity.

Fishing boats have also been asked to keep a lookout for Fungie in case he followed shoals of fish far out to sea.

Coastal walkers have also been asked to keep a lookout.

The sighting last Thursday prompted hopes that Fungie was merely avoiding his normal areas of activity because of the presence of other dolphins and even whales.

Fisherman Paul Hand said he was "one thousand per cent certain" he spotted Fungie last Thursday.

Sick

However, avid Fungie watchers fear that something is badly wrong and that the dolphin may either be sick or dead.

Worry has been compounded by the fact Fungie normally never leaves his traditional patrol area for more than a few hours.

Dingle Sea Safari boat operator Jimmy Flannery said it is not like Fungie at all.

"The longest in my 33 years for him to disappear is a few hours.

"We're hoping he is OK. But these are worrying times."


Privacy