Funerals of two men
killed in freak accident

The result of a major investigation into how a nine metre high wall collapsed, killing two men and leaving four others injured at a Longford town DIY store and garden centre last week, may not be known for some time.

The result of a major investigation into how a nine metre high wall collapsed, killing two men and leaving four others injured at a Longford town DIY store and garden centre last week, may not be known for some time.

Health and Safety officials revealed on Monday extensive analysis carried out at the town’s Connacht Gold store into last Tuesday’s incident has now come to a close.

A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Authority, however, could not confirm when the details of the investigation would be known.

“It’s ongoing,” said the spokesman.

“Fatal site investigations aren’t wrapped up in days. These things take time.”

Two men died in the tragedy, Sean Mulleady from Drumlish and Paddy Gaffney from Tarmonbarry.

Four other people were injured, including staff members and representatives of the firm. Almost all of those are recuperating at home this week with one individual still being treated for leg injuries at the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar. His injuries are described as being non-life threatening and it is expected doctors will discharge him from hospital later this week.

As those caught up in the freak accident continue to recover and with formal investigations also underway this week, attention has now focused on two families left devastated by the tragic events of last Tuesday.

There were poignant scenes in both Drumlish and Tarmonbarry on Friday as the funerals of Sean Mulleady and Paddy Gaffney took place.

Addressing a hushed congregation inside St Mary’s Church, Drumlish, Sean’s brother Eamonn recalled the father-of-three’s staunch work values and everlasting commitment to his family.

He also told of the heartbreaking moment he learned of the news, an account he then had to relay to Sean’s wife Teresa before making their way to Mullingar’s Midland Regional Hospital.

“On the way up we were talking and Teresa said: ‘I know exactly what happened; somebody got hurt in an accident and Sean went in to help and he got caught.’

“Because that was Sean, he was hands on when someone needed him. Help wasn’t a text message and the easy way out, it was jumping in the van,” he said. “Sean was a good man.”

Sean’s first cousin and Longford County Councillor Martin Mulleady, said the horse-loving 47-year-old would never be forgotten.

“He was a gifted man especially with his hands. Sean could do anything. He was a great family man and helped me out a lot when election time came around. It’s a big loss to the family,” he said.

Following the funeral proceedings which continued to the village’s New Cemetery, sympathisers lined out in their hundreds to offer their condolences to Sean’s wife Teresa, mother Sadie, children Claire, Mark and David, alongside Sean’s brothers, sisters and extended family.

A few miles down the road in Tarmonbarry, similarly poignant scenes were in evidence. Sympathies and messages of support were offered to Mr Gaffney’s wife Patsy, son Johnny and daughter Denise as well as the former Glanbia worker’s extended family.

Speaking to the Leader earlier this week, Mr Gaffney’s friend and neighbour, Roscommon Co Mayor Cllr Tom Crosby said locals had been left reeling by the tragedy.

“He was a great family man and was a great supporter of all community activities. Paddy wasn’t a man to complain and was always there to lend a hand. He will be sorely missed,” said the Roscommon Co Mayor, revealing also Mr Gaffney’s fondness for farming.

Following the tragic accident on its presmises last Tuesday in Longford, Connacht Gold was quick to react with chief executive Aaron Forde extending sympathies to both families bereaved by the accident and vowed that the co-operative would do all it could to assist in the follow up investigation.

“We express our sympathy and our support to the other visitors and employees who suffered injury as a result of the accident,” he said. “We are also providing counselling to those visitors and employees in the store who were affected by this accident.

“Safety is a primary concern for Connacht Gold and we are working in every way with the emergency services, the Gardaí and the Health and Safety Authority in establishing the cause of the accident. Connacht Gold opened the store in the leased premises just over nine months ago. We await the outcome of the official investigations into this tragic accident.”

As a mark of respect Connacht Gold cancelled its Mohill mart sale which had been earmarked for last Saturday (February 2).

Meanwhile, tributes have also been paid to the swift response by both the Gardai and emergency services who were on the scene within minutes.

Leading those messages, Longford Town Mayor Cllr Peggy Nolan joined her county opposite number Cllr Sean Farrell in offering her support to the injured and to those left behind.

“It’s a terrible tragedy, but what I will say is that our emergency services worked out of their skin and their professionalism in such terrible circumstances really came to the fore. As mayor of the town I would like to take this opportunity to pass on my deepest sympathies to the bereaved.,” she said.