An off-duty garda has died in a diving incident off the Wexford coast.

David Hearne was an accomplished diver who was involved in several rescues and received a number of awards for bravery.

He was among members of the Hook Sub Aqua Club who were taking part in a recreational dive several miles off Hook Head when he got into difficulty.

The other divers brought him to the surface and called the Coast Guard.

Mr Hearne was recovered by the crew of the naval vessel LE Orla and brought ashore.

Hook Sub Aqua Club

He was taken by the Coast Guard helicopter to Waterford Regional Airport and transferred to Waterford University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mr Hearne was originally from Fethard but was living and working in Waterford. He was an accomplished diver and former member of the Garda Water Unit.

Colleagues and locals have paid tribute to the father-of-four saying they were shocked by the loss of such a qualified and experienced diver and dismayed that tragedy had befallen a man who had helped save the lives of so many others.