Newry canal victim’s death ‘leaves empty void impossible to fill’

Rescue workers at Victoria Lock on Newry Canal on Sunday as they tried to rescue Connor Galligan
Rescue workers at Victoria Lock on Newry Canal on Sunday as they tried to rescue Connor Galligan

A plumber who died when his van plunged into Newry Canal was a loving, generous man and a hands-on dad who had just celebrated a 10-year anniversary with his wife, mourners at his funeral heard.

Connor Galligan, a 30-year-old father of two young children, passed away on Sunday despite the best efforts of those who came to his rescue.

In a touching homily at his funeral in Cloghogue, Newry, parish priest Father Richard Naughton spoke of a generous young man who made no secret of his love for his family.

Fr Naughton said: “The events of Sunday past are engraved on the minds of those closest and dearest to Connor.

“His loss so immense, leaving in its wake an empty void impossible to fill. The family are most grateful to the motorcyclist who not only witnessed Connor’s car enter the canal but alerted the authorities and are equally grateful to Gerry Brown of the rescue diving club for bringing Connor to the surface.

“Connor responded immediately to every person’s need. He would never see a person stuck. In all his dealings he was most obliging. Connor wasn’t one to put anything on the long finger. What had to be done, had to be done straight away as if, for Connor, there was no tomorrow.

“If any of his jobs were around Dundalk, he would take time to visit his granny and he was very affectionate when giving his hugs.

“Connor and Michaela intended to go to Australia but their plans were put on hold by the sudden death of his dad at his Sunday Mass. A week later, Michaela found out that she was pregnant. Connor was as proud as punch at the birth of his son Kyle.

“After his dad’s death he was always on hand to help out at his mother’s house, although his mother Johanna had to be very careful in expressing her wishes. On one occasion she happened to mention it would be nice to have a shower in her bedroom. The very next morning, while she was still in her bed – she was a district nurse – Connor was tracking floor and a shower was duly in place.

“In 2012 Connor married Michaela, the love of his life. Two years later he was over the moon at the birth of his baby daughter Hollie and he was a hands-on dad and a familiar figure in Tobar Blinne as he walked the children around the green. His children thought there was no-one better than their dad. In the coffin the card from Kyle had the words ‘I love my Daddie’.

“Last weekend he and Michaela celebrated the 10th anniversary of their relationship. On Sunday, his life came to an end and his family are left to cope with his loss and to offer unilimited support and comfort to one another on the difficult road ahead.”

“Throughout his life Connor was surrounded by love and he himself was a most generous and obliging person. He received not only the love of his own intimate family but the lifelong love of his parents and of his sister Claire. Every act and gesture of love is a reminder of God’s love, a love that opens one’s horizon to love in all its fullness in the everlasting life of heaven. On behalf of parishioners, I offer sincere sympathy to Michaela, Kyle and Hollie, to his mother Johanna, sister Claire, brother-in-law Paddie, his little nephew Joseph, to his dear granny, uncles, aunts, cousins and to his many friends.”