Emotional tributes to two men killed in Mournes falls

Two men who died following separate falls in the Mourne Mountains yesterday have been named locally.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 9:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 7:32 pm

One of the men was a former RUC officer who had risen to the rank of Chief Superintendent, Robert Robinson, who lived in Banbridge.

The other man was Sean Byrne, from the Camlough area of Co Armagh.

The walkers were killed within an hour of each other on Sunday.

The first fatal incident happened on the Wee Binnian hill shortly before 12pm. The second man fell to his death on the Slieve Commedagh mountain just before 1pm.

Another man was injured in a third falling incident, in an area known as the Saddle, around 2.30pm. He sustained a broken ankle.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances in the deaths.

Robert Robinson, known to his friends as Robbie, was described as “one of life’s gentlemen”.

Robbie Robinson

Ulster Unionist councillor for the Banbridge area, Ian Burns, said: “I knew him through Church — he attended the same Church as me.

“I would usually have seen Robbie on a Sunday morning. He always had a smile and a wave and some mornings we would have had a bit of craic together. He was always smiling - an absolute gentleman I have to say.

“He played a big role in the Church, Holy Trinity Church of Ireland in Banbridge. He did lots of things for the Church but one of the main things he would have done was co-ordinate the Church fete every year, which was a big, big success within the community.

“He was active and he was outdoors often.”

Sean Byrne. Photograph posted alongside statement by Craobh Rua Camlocha Hurling Club

Mr Burns continued: “It was devastating news last night. There were tears in Church when it was told. He was such a nice man, one of life’s gentlemen, and it was devastating news for anyone who knew him. And in the Church community everybody knew him.”

He added: “He was active and he was outdoors often. He would have done hillwalking and that sort of thing. I would like to send my condolences to his wife Barbara and the family circle.”

Sean Byrne, meanwhile, was described as a man of “commitment, integrity, calmness and care.”

He was a former treasurer of Craobh Rua Camlocha hurling club.

Handout photo taken from the Twitter page of @PSNIAirSupport of a support aircraft in the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland after two men died in separate falls.

The club paid tribute to him in a statement.

“The news of our respected former Treasurer and esteemed Trustee’s death has devastated us all,” a spokesperson said.

“He had a great love for our Club and he showed this over the years by the giving freely of his time and experience to help us develop and become rooted within our community.

“He possessed great gifts of commitment, integrity, calmness and care. He loved his family, his community, Gaelic sport and culture.

No words we can say will lessen the shock and pain of his family as they struggle to come to terms with this news. However we will be there for them just as Sean had been here for us over the past thirty years.

“We convey our deepest sympathies to the families of both those killed whilst climbing yesterday in the Mourne Mountains.”

Handout photo taken from the Twitter page of @PSNIAirSupport of a support aircraft in the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland after two men died in separate falls.

Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy said: “The death of Sean Byrne has utterly devastated the local Camlough community. Sean was a popular and highly respected family man, a friend to many of us.

“He had a great love for Craobh Rua Hurling Club and the local community.”

He continued: “Sean was assured to be seen at any fund raising Quiz or event that took place here in the village . He was a keen photographer and would be present at hurling, cycling, running and swimming events snapping away.

“The Byrne family had a long coal and oil business tradition and would be known to many throughout south Armagh.

“We can assure them that they are in our thoughts and prayers at this dark and devastating time. We as a community will give them what support we can”.