Tributes are being paid to a retired priest who died following a house fire in Fenit over night.
Gardai are investigating the blaze which claimed the life of 82 year old Fr Gearóid O Donnchadha. However, they say it is too early to say what caused the fire around 2am. Fr Gearóid O Donnchadha was born in Cork City in 1933 and grew up in Killarney. He was ordained in 1957 and served as a priest in Manchester, Rathmore, Sneem, Birmingham, Tralee and Castlegregory. An accomplished academic Fr Gearóid taught in St Brendan’s Killarney, in Newry and in New York where he received a Masters and PhD in Sociology. Fr Gearóid published many studies and a book on Saint Brendan and was a keen seafarer. In 1980 he began teaching in Tralee Regional Technical College, which later became the Institute of Technology, Tralee. He retired in 2004 and lived in Fenit until his tragic death. President IT Tralee Dr. Oliver Murphy said Fr Gearóid was a gifted lecturer and researcher who contributed greatly to the development of the Institute and in particular the School of Business, Computing and Humanities and has left behind a distinguished legacy. Kerry North West Limerick TD Martin Ferris says he and the community of Fenit are shocked by the tragedy; Fr Gearóid spearheaded a project to have a statue of Saint Brendan erected in Fenit. Condolences have also been extended on behalf of the board and staff at Radio Kerry. General Manager Fiona Stack said that Fr Gearóid had presented a show on the station in the past and remained a regular contributor. She described him as incredibly supportive and generous with his time and knowledge.