Updated: 27/12/17 : 06:24:07
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Burials for friends who drowned on Christmas Day

Two friends who drowned in a Mayo river on Christmas Day will be laid to rest on Thursday and Friday this week. burials

Declan Davitt (26) and Martin Needham (27) - two very close friends - drowned after the 4x4 they were in entered the Carrowniskey River near Louisburg in Co Mayo in the early hours of Christmas morning.

It is understood they were taking a shortcut across a stretch of water that is normally passable. Their SUV was swept downstream by floodwaters.

They were returning after a night socialising with friends when they entered the swollen waterway at about 2.30am.

Another man, Tom McGreil (19) managed to escape from the jeep and the water and reach land. Mr McGreil then made a desperate attempt to help his friends.

It has also emerged that the Davitt family suffered a separate Christmas tragedy seven years ago.

Declan's older sister Kathleen drowned off the west coast in 2010. Her funeral took place on Christmas week, when she was 26, the same age as Declan.

One of the bodies was found at about 3.30pm on Christmas Day in a deep pool of water after an earlier search of the submerged SUV found no traces of the missing men. The second body was found a short time later downstream from where the vehicle was found - about 1.5km from the coast.

Mr Needham will be buried on Thursday following Requiem Mass at midday in the Church of the Holy Family, Killeen, Louisburgh.

His friend will be laid to rest on Friday following Requiem Mass, also at midday, in the same church.

The search for the missing men involved several rescue teams including the Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter.