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'Devastating' Kilkenny man who lost brother and home in fire 'wept' after GoFundMe page raises €30K

Dominic Brennan (76) "broke down and wept" when he learned of the generous donations he'd received.


The brothers' house was completely destroyed in the fire

The brothers' house was completely destroyed in the fire

The brothers' house was completely destroyed in the fire

The family of a Kilkenny man who lost his brother and home in a devastating fire have thanked the local community for their “unbelievable” support over the past few days.

Dominic ‘Dom’ Brennan (76) survived the blaze, which took place last Wednesday in the Jenkinstown area of Kilkenny, but his younger brother Oliver (66) was tragically killed when the house they shared went up in flames.

Donna Dowling, whose husband Sean is Dom and Oliver’s nephew, explained that the incident was particularly “devastating” because the brothers were so close.


The late Oliver Brennan

The late Oliver Brennan

The late Oliver Brennan

“They were two elderly bachelors living on their own. Oliver lived his whole life with Dom. They just had each other,” she told sundayworld.com.

“They did nothing but watch sport and Fair City. That was their whole life.”

She said that the house was completely destroyed in the blaze, with Dom needing hospital treatment for smoke inhalation afterwards.

“There’s nothing left of the house now. Everything is ash, everything is smoke. Dom was left with nothing.

“Everything is gone. Nothing was salvageable. But the physical possessions we can replace. We can’t replace the loss of his brother or having to witness your own brother dying.

“We’re in an awful situation where, as well as trying to rebuild the physical house, we’re trying to help Dom move on with his life. Even down the road, the toll of such an event on an elderly man – how will he ever overcome it?”

Earlier this week, their family set up a GoFundMe page to help Dominic rebuild his home and have raised more than €30,600 to date

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Donna said that the response to the fundraiser has been “incredible” so far and thanked the public for their generous donations.

“The community in Kilkenny have just rallied in. [Dom] can’t get over the kindness. When we rang him to tell him [the GoFundMe] had raised €2,000, the man just broke down and wept,” she said.

“As a family, to be getting this support from everybody is just healing. It’s really commendable. Especially when people are giving so much towards Ukraine.

“Everyone emptied their pockets over the last couple of weeks so to see people giving more is just unbelievable.”

Donna said that the family plan to use the money to help Dom find a new home in Jenkinstown.

“He doesn’t want to go into the house where the tragedy happened but he’s very anxious to get back to Jenkinstown as quickly as possible. He really wants to be at home. Our plan is to raise money and look at mobile homes for him.

“We’re trying our best to give him hope,” she added.

Those who wish to make a donation to the fundraiser can do so here.

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