Family of man who died in River Shannon tragedy pay him an emotional tribute

Bryan Whelan
Bryan Whelan

The family of a man who died in a freak incident on the River Shannon last Saturday, has paid him an emotional tribute.

Speaking on behalf of Bryan Whelan's family, his sister-in-law, Maura Whelan, said he was a "true gentleman".

"We are just heartbroken by the tragic loss of Bryan. He was a fantastic son, brother, uncle," Ms Whelan said, speaking at the family home in Leitrim, Bridgetown, Co Clare.

"He was a true gentleman, who would drop everything at a moment's notice should you need him," she said.

"Bryan's level of determination matched the demanding job nature of his job, which he took great pride in.

"He lived life to the fullest, and will be sadly missed by us, and his wide circle of friends."

Ms Whelan, who is married to Mr Whelan's brother John Paul, added: "Our thoughts are also with the O'Herlihy family at this immensely tough time."

Fellow stone mason Timothy "TJ" O'Herlihy, from Tullig, Castleisland also died when a cage in which the men were standing while carrying out specialised remedial works on Thomond Bridge in Limerick City plunged into the river around 3.45pm yesterday. 

A cable attached to a crane that had been holding the cage with the men inside snapped, sending the men and the platform into the river.

Mr O'Herlihy and Mr Whelan - who were wearing life jackets that were attached to the cage - were found trapped two feet under the surface by divers attached to Limerick Marine Search and Rescue Service (LMSRS) and Limerick City Fire Service.