Day Bray will never for­get

Bray People - - News Focus - Mary FOG­A­RTY

AS THE melody of the hymn ‘A Íosa’ hung som­brely in the air at the Holy Redeemer Church on Bray’s Main Street last Satur­day morn­ing, the con­gre­ga­tion re­flected on the sad day a year ago when a fire in an un­used ware­house claimed the lives of heroic fire fight­ers Brian Mur­ray and Mark O’Shaugh­nessy.

‘One year on and noth­ing has changed,’ said a source in the fire ser­vice, who help­lessly watched as his two friends per­ished so sud­denly and un­ex­pect­edly on Septem­ber 26 2007. ‘The sys­tem hasn’t im­proved.’

The fire­fighter said that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is at a very sen­si­tive stage and that he and his col­leagues are all wait­ing for a con­clu­sion and for changes to be made on foot of its find­ings.

Since the tragedy, the fam­i­lies of the two men have been cam­paign­ing for a num­ber of changes to the ser­vice pro­ce­dures, in­clud­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of a full-time fire ser­vice, thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the cir­cum­stances that led to what un­folded that morn­ing, and an ex­am­i­na­tion of al­leged ‘cal­l­vetting’ which they claim was a prac­tice which de­layed bri­gade re­sponse times.

The peo­ple of a town shocked by grief came out in huge num­bers to march down the Main Street last Oc­to­ber, de­mand­ing a full-time fire ser­vice for Bray.

On Satur­day morn­ing, be­neath framed pho­to­graphs of Brian and Mark placed on the al­tar, along­side a pair of hel­mets left idle for twelve months, the rel­a­tives, friends and col­leagues of the two men re­mem­bered fondly the peo­ple they had lost. ‘We have lost an aw­ful lot,’ said one mem­ber of the Bray ser­vice.

‘Ev­ery day you re­mem­ber it. You don’t need an an­niver­sary or a par­tic­u­lar date to re­call that ter­ri­ble day. We think about Mark and Brian all the time,’ he said. ‘We still miss them...their loss is a hor­rific blow. There are some who still won­der when­ever the beeper goes off...is this it?’

A plaque was un­veiled in Bray Fire Sta­tion on Fri­day morn­ing, af­ter a mo­ment of si­lence at 10.43 a.m., the time when the call to the fire was re­ceived at the sta­tion.

The cer­e­mony was or­gan­ised by the Bray fire fight­ers and at­tended by mem­bers of the Wick­low Fire ser­vice, past and present.

Those present at Mass on Satur­day re­mem­bered Mark, (26), who was known as a kind, quiet and car­ing young man who

would help any­one in need. His mother Marie, sis­ter Ni­amh, brother Ea­monn, girl­friend Hazel and nephew Eoin re­call a man who took pride in ev­ery­thing he did and made friends eas­ily in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion.

Brian, (46), who’s in­fec­tious smile is now etched in to the col­lec­tive mem­o­ries of the peo­ple of Bray, was a hard-work­ing, pop­u­lar man who loved be­ing a part of the fire ser­vice. Those who knew him said time and time again that with his calm and car­ing per­son­al­ity, the fa­ther of 15 was born to be a fire fighter.

‘I am sure life is still very dif­fi­cult for Brian and Mark’s fam­ily, friends and col­leagues,’ said Fr. Ge­orge Be­g­ley at the Mass. ‘The sense of lone­li­ness is not easy to cope with.’ He spoke of the im­por­tance of the con­tin­ued sup­port of loved ones ‘who call and share their sto­ries and mem­o­ries.’

The cer­e­mony on Satur­day morn­ing brought to a close the memo­rial tributes that had taken place since Fri­day, when the fam­i­lies re-vis­ited the scene of the fire at Ade­laide Vil­las to mark its an­niver­sary.

A few dozen peo­ple gath­ered qui­etly on Fri­day morn­ing to pay their re­spects. Brian’s broth­erin-law Jack O’Neill moved the peo­ple to tears as he read out a poem by Jacky Kelle­her, Brian Jnr’s girl­friend. ‘In the midst of all the chaos I looked up at the flames, I saw a danc­ing an­gel and she softly called my name. I reached up to the Danc­ing An­gel, took her by the hand, And qui­etly with not a word she led me from this land,’ read the poem.

As well as seven grand­chil­dren, The Mur­ray chil­dren at the scene in­cluded Kian (2), Ryan (7), Ais­ling (9), Aoife (11), David (14), Eoin (15), Sinead (16), Sean (18), Fiona (19), Joanne (20), Barry (23), Caro­line (24), Dar­ren (26) and Brian (28).

‘It’s very hard and it’s not get­ting any eas­ier,’ said Brian’s daugh­ter Joanne. ‘We just hope that some­thing will come out of this even­tu­ally.’

Terry O’Neill, an­other of Brian’s broth­ers-in-law, who’s par­ents live next door to the fac­tory, said last Fri­day that he had spo­ken to Brian mere mo­ments be­fore his death.

‘I saw Brian get­ting ready to en­ter the fac­tory,’ said Terry. ‘I called out jok­ingly to him “At last I catch you work­ing.” Brian just gave me that grin of his...and didn’t an­swer.

Brian’s sons David and Eoghan Mur­ray carry his por­trait and hel­met.

Ryan, Fiona and Ais­ling Mur­ray.

David Mur­ray with Brian’s grand­child Ab­bie.

Brian Mur­ray’s grand­son Jor­dan and son Brian.

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