Men killed in Thomond Bridge incident are named

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

The cage is recovered from the river at Thomond Bridge on Saturday evening. Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22

THE two men killed in a ‘heartbreaking’ incident at Thomond Bridge in Limerick on Saturday have been named.

The men, 36-year-old TJ Herlihy from Castleisland and 29-year-old Brian Whelan from O’Brien’s Bridge, were killed when the cage like structure they were working in, which was suspended from the bridge, snapped free from its cable and plunged into the water. The men were connected to the cage via a harness and were unable to free themselves.

A third man, Paul Murphy from Askeaton, 36, managed to free himself and survived, raising the alarm in the process.

Joint investigations, carried out by the Health and Safety Authority and Gardai, are now underway. The company, Askeaton based Irish Bridge, said it was a “terrible tragedy”.

“Irish Bridge would like to offer its sincerest sympathies to the families of Brian and TJ,” it said in a statement.

“It’s heart-breaking, our thoughts and prayers are with their families, relatives and friends at this very sad time. We would like to thank most sincerely the emergency service personnel for their professionalism. We will, of course, co-operate fully with all authorities examining the incident.”

The three men in the cage and were wearing lifejackets but were harnessed and attached to it when it gave away and fell into the water. While Mr Murphy managed to free himself, the other two were under the water for up to ten minutes, it is believed.

The men were removed from the water by Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service, with the assistance of Limerick Marine Search and Rescue. The two men were unresponsive when they were removed by ambulance to University Hospital Limerick, where they were pronounced dead.