The Greencastle fishing community lost two of its most senior members last week with the passing of Paddy Kelly and Liam McCormack.
According to locals who talked with the ‘Journal’ this week the two were ‘visionaries’ who helped turned the relatively primitive fishing methods and practices of years ago into a thriving modern industry which gives employment to many families locally now.
One local man said: “Paddy and Liam with others pioneered the fishing co-op. That took the whole fishing industry in this region to another level altogether.
“Once locals were in charge of the produce and the marketing the fishermen got better prices, and when the better facilities came along it all became much more efficient.
“Up until they showed this kind of innovation and forward thinking this area was blighted by a lot of poverty and emigration. It was a struggle for most families to keep body and soul together.
“When Paddy and Liam started out there were mainly half-deckers and the like but they both bought 50-footers to take the first steps in modernising the fleet here in Greencastle.
“Paddy and his family later founded Tardrum Fisheries and moved into the aquaculture sector. His son, Gerard, owns two large mussel dredgers based on the Foyle.
“Liam opted to go a different direction and founded Greencastle Seafoods to process the whitefish catch landed locally. It proved a very astute move and the business continues today very successfully under his son, Harry.”
Our source said both men deserved great credit as did their families.
He added that the success of the fishing industry locally had created all sorts of spin off industries that had proved worthwhile like net mending and making, the fisheries school, restaurants attracting an international reputation and so much more.
“There are so few of their calibre left.
“They were visionaries, people who made a difference - people who this country could do with now.
“May they rest in peace.”
Mr Kelly was laid to rest on Monday of last week, Mr McCormack last Thursday.