THE passing of a man who touched the lives of so many people is being keenly felt in Skibbereen and all of West Cork, and will continue to be felt for a long time to come.
For more than seven years, Mick Kearns, worked alongside his partner Noreen Murphy, the founder of Lisheens House, a community-centred mental health charity that offers free counselling, training and support for those in a mental health crisis.
The 55-year-old had been reported missing some time after leaving his home in Kealkil on Friday December 30th, but the search for his whereabouts ended on the evening of Sunday January 1st.
When people heard of Mick’s tragic passing, it was met with a genuine and heartfelt sense of loss. Mary Calnan, who worked alongside Mick, paid tribute to him.
‘He was,’ she said, ‘an allrounder. He was straight, honest, hardworking. Salt of the earth. I loved him. We got on like a house on fire from day one when I started working here seven and a half years ago.
‘He was,’ she added, ‘my best friend. In life, he did so much good for everybody that came through those doors that was in trouble. And to think that he couldn’t reach out, on the last day, for himself is devastating.’
The Dunmanway native is survived by his partner, Noreen, his daughters Dearbhal and Bronagh, Noreen’s sons, his siblings, his family, his friends, and the communities of Dunmanway, Kealkil and Skibbereen, which claim a long and loving association with him.