Search for PJ comes to a tragic conclusion
The search for 34-year-old father of two PJ Fanning came to a tragic conclusion on Thursday morning after his body was recovered from the River Slaney.
The Ballymitty native had been missing for a total of 25 days and while the recovery of his remains will provide some closure for his heartbroken family, it will still have come as a massive shock as they held out hope maintaining their daily vigil from the rocks at Ferrycarrig.
A large scale search took place over the 25 days which saw search and rescue groups from across the country joining forces with the RNLI, Slaney Search & Rescue, the Civil Defence, the Coast Guard and the garda sub-aqua unit.
Touched by PJ's story and the pleas of his pregnant partner Mellissa Furlong to continue the search, a great number of volunteers from the general public arrived at the car park in Ferrycarrig over the course of the past three weeks as well, anxious to lend a hand in any way they could.
Sadly, there was to be no happy ending as PJ's body was recovered from the water near Park, a short distance down river from where his car had been discovered at Ferrycarrig. The grim discovery was made by Boyne Fishermens' Rescue and Recovery from Drogheda, Co Louth.
PJ was a loving father to Kyle (14) and Katie (10). Tragically, he was also expecting a baby with his loving partner Mellissa with whom he lived in Ballymurn. A native of Harriestown, Ballymitty, PJ was the beloved son of Paddy and Anna and a brother to Matthew,
Tributes poured in for the father of two last week. A keen footballer, he wore the red and white of St Mary's of Maudlintown and Junior B Manager Nicky Nolan was among those who spoke fondly of PJ.
'A sad day for the club and the B Team in particular,' he said.
'PJ played a massive part in our Wexford district winning campaign last season and was always one of the first names on my team sheet for every game. Mr Reliable at corner back, he never let much go past him. He gave me his word after the county semi-final defeat that he would give it one more crack this year before he hung up the boots. So PJ, we will give it our best shot this year to go all the way in your memory pal. Rest in peace mo chara.'
There was a huge outpouring of grief at St Peter's Church in Ballymitty on Saturday as PJ made his final journey.
After nearly a month of uncertainty, his family were comforted by a large circle of friends at a poignant funeral service. After an emotionally charged ceremony, PJ was finally laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.
He is sadly missed by his loving family - grandmother Ciss, uncles, aunts, cousins, relatives and friends.
May he rest in peace.