Limerick man dies at Regional Hospital after getting Legionnaire’s disease on holiday

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

A JANESBORO man has died after contracting Legionnaire’s disease during a holiday he took to Chicago.

A JANESBORO man has died after contracting Legionnaire’s disease during a holiday he took to Chicago.

Thomas (Tom) Keane, from McDermott Avenue, was one of eight people who contracted Legionnaire’s in Chicago’s Marriott Hotel in the past week.

He died at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital yesterday. It is understood at least one other person died.

Tom had travelled to Chicago with his wife Olive for a 40th wedding anniversary treat, in particular to visit his son Shane, 29, who secured a summer job there. After staying in the five-star hotel, they returned to Limerick earlier this week.

His devastated son, Fr Richard Keane, based in Newcastle West, said the father-of-three will be remembered as being “totally family orientated.”

“For the last 40 years, he gave Olive breakfast in bed every morning. He drove her everywhere, he hoovered and polished the house. They were absolutely inseparable. When my father went out on a Friday night, he would go with Olive. His family was his life,” Fr Keane said.

Tom had spent his lifetime working for Limerick City Council (formerly Limerick Corporation) firstly as a plumber, then later as a supervisor in the Rathbane maintenance depot. He retired in November 2010.

“He would do anything for anybody. As a plumber, he would help everyone out. He would do work for elderly members of the community for nothing,” recalled his brother.

A quiet man, one of Tom’s passions away from work was looking after birds he kept in an aviary near his home.

Despite contracting the condition while in Chicago, Fr Keane said that Tom had enjoyed his time stateside with his wife, daughter and son. “We are all absolutely exhausted, shocked, devastated and saddened.”

City councillor Ger Fahy, who lived next door to Thomas for the last 30 years, said the community is in shock.

“He was an excellent friend to me. Tom’s family and my family were the best of friends, and we worked very closely together. He was a thorough gentleman, and a very much respected and well-liked person in Janesboro. We are devastated to hear the sad news of his death,” Cllr Fahy said.

Tom’s funeral mass will take place at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Janesboro at 11am on Saturday.

For more, see the Limerick Leader, city edition