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Tragic accident Young Irishman Colm Quinn dies after nine-storey fall on construction site

The 43-year-old Newry native, who had been living and working in New York for a number of years, was rushed to the nearby Jersey Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

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Colm Quinn

Colm Quinn

Colm Quinn

Tributes have been paid to a young Co Down man who died in a horrific nine-storey fall on a New Jersey construction site.

Colm Quinn, who was nicknamed ‘Gunner’ has been described as "gentleman" following his tragic death on March 10.

The 43-year-old Newry native, who had been living and working in New York for a number of years, was rushed to the nearby Jersey Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

An obituary published by Pelham Funeral Home in New York stated that Colm, who was born in Newry to Thomas and Mary Quinn, was the eldest of six children.

“Colm was known from a young age as Gunner and held this nickname from childhood through to adulthood” it reads.

“His love of sport was evident from a young age and he enjoyed playing and watching Soccer and Gaelic with Mountainview, Bosco, and Newry Shamrocks. Colm excelled at sports and was never seen without a ball as a child.


“His wit and humour were one of his many attributes and his personality was noted by everyone that he met. By Colm's own admission, he led an interesting and adventurous life, and the impact he had on us as a family and the many friends he made over the years is immeasurable.

“Colm's work ethic was as such that he worked all over Ireland before moving to New York in September of 2002. He quickly made New York his home and worked as a mason for various companies, as well as for himself.

“Colm was well respected by all his colleagues and all that he met. He was always honest and to the point. The many messages of support from all over the world are reflective of the high esteem Colm was held in.

“In his spare time, Colm loved to play GAA, socialise, watch boxing at Madison Square Garden, read a good book, and cook exceptional dinners.

“Colm will be remembered as a gentleman. He had a great sense of humour, was full of devilment, and had a cheeky smile. Colm made an impression on everyone that he met and was renowned for helping people, especially those that made a recent move to NYC.

“Colm is survived by his parents, Thomas and Mary Quinn, his siblings, Donal, Ciara, Patrick, and Marita. He is predeceased by his brother Thomas. He will be missed by his nephew, and nieces, extended family, and friends. Colm will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”

South Down MLA, Sinead Ennis, who is a friend of the Quinn family, said this was the second tragedy to hit them following the loss of their son Thomas who passed away in 2018.

"I know the Quinn family well and they are still grieving the loss of their son Thomas, and this tragic accident to Colm has left them completely devastated,” Ms Ennis said.

"The whole community is heartbroken. The Quinns are a well-known family in the area and Colm was a popular character with lots of friends across Newry who are all very saddened by his loss.

"He had been in New York a number of years and had a wide circle of friends there who will all miss him dearly.

"It is just terrible that a young man can get up for work and sadly never make it home again."

Newry and Armagh MP Mickey Brady said there was “shock and sadness throughout our community following the death of this popular young man, Colm Quinn”.

"Tom and Mary and the Quinn family are highly respected throughout the area and this tragic death coming soon after the loss of another son Thomas in February 2018, has cast a dark cloud of sadness over the entire area,” he said.

According to local media reports, Mr Quinn fell down an elevator shaft in Jersey City and was taken to the Jersey Medical Centre but was later pronounced dead. The tragedy occurred around 7.45am local time at 136 Summit Avenue in the Bergen Hill neighbourhood.

Following the accident, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was called to the site, which was later shut down.

A Jersey City spokesperson said: “At approximately 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Jersey City’s Police and Fire Departments responded to 136 Summit Avenue. Upon arrival, officers observed a 43-year-old contractor who had fallen nine stories down an elevator shaft.

“The male was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The City notified OSHA, and they are responding.”

The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, based in Newry, Co Down, is understood to be assisting the Quinn family.

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