Longford communities in mourning as investigation into Connacht Gold wall collapse gets underway

Health and Safety investigators are today trying to establish what may have caused a 40 ft high wall to collapse at a well known DIY and garden centre in Longford town yesterday, killing two men and injuring four others.

Health and Safety investigators are today trying to establish what may have caused a 40 ft high wall to collapse at a well known DIY and garden centre in Longford town yesterday, killing two men and injuring four others.

Sean Mulleady (47) from Drumlish and Tarmonbarry father-of-two Pat Gaffney, who was in his 60s, lost their lives when an internal wall gave way, trapping them and four others.

Two of those left injured have since been discharged from hospital with two more still being cared for at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore.

The pair are understood to be a staff member and sales representative from Connacht Gold although their conditions are not believed to be life threatening.

One of a number of shoppers in the store at the time of yesterday’s incident, Elizabeth Fallon said she was still struggling to come to terms with the tragic events of yesterday afternoon.

“Today (Wednesday), I can’t even shut my eyes because every time I do, I keep getting flashbacks,” she said.

Ms Fallon, who like the deceased, were quietly going about their everyday shopping business, said she had only just finished talking to Mr Gaffney, whom she knew from her time spent in Tarmonbarry along the Longford-Roscommon border.

She also confided to being “nervous” in the seconds beforehand as she and her 24-year-old son, Bernard then turned their attentions to helping those caught under the fallen rubble.

“I only went in to get some daffodil bulbs and my son decided to come with me as he wanted to pick up some work gear. I had just paid for the stuff when it all happened. It’s was like a nightmare,” she recalled.

As survivors from yesterday’s tragic accident attempt to come to terms with what happened, tributes have meanwhile been paid to the dead men.

Originally from Drumlish, Mr Mulleady was a high profile member of locally run firm, The Mulleady Group.

His first cousin, and Longford County Councillor Martin Mulleady, said the father-of-three would be remembered for his hard-working demeanour and honest approach to everyday life.

“He was a gifted man especially with his hands. He 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,” said Mr Mulleady, who leaves behind a wife, Theresa and three children, Mark, David and Claire. His mother Sadie was also being comforted by friends and close family last night.

Like Mr Mulleady, local community and family life played a big part in Mr Gaffney’s day-to-day routine. A former employee of foods giant Glanbia, the 65-year-old was also a keen farmer. His wife Patsy is believed to have been waiting outside in the car when wall collapsed at around 2pm.

He is also survived by a son, John and daughter, Denise.“He was a great family man and was a great supporter of all community activities,” said neighbour, close friend and Roscommon Co Mayor, Cllr Tom Crosby.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Health and Safety Authority refused to comment on whether the focus of their investigation was likely to centre on whether high winds may have played a part in the wall’s collapse.

“We are investigating what happened, that’s all we can say at this stage,” said a spokesman.

In a further development it has also been announced this evening that the Funeral of the late Pat Gaffney will take place on Friday at 12 noon with burial to Kilbarry Cemetery afterwards. His remains will be reposing at the family home in Cloonshannagh, Rooskey throughout tomorrow before removal to Whitehall Church at 7:30pm. Sympathisers are asked to refrain from calling to Mr Gaffney’s home from 6:30pm onwards.