A candlelight vigil is to take place at the bridge where two men died in a work place accident in Limerick at the weekend.
TJ Herlihy (36) from Castleisland Co Kerry and Brian Whelan (29) from O'Briens Bridge, Co Clare, were killed after a cage like structure they were working on collapsed into the River Shannon at Thomond Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in the city.
The incident occured at 3.30pm on Saturday. A cable attached to a crane that was suspending the cage over the side of the bridge gave way, plunging the workers into the water.
Both victims were wearing life jackets but were also in harnesses, which were attached to the cage when it fell into the water.
A third worker, 36-year-old Paul Murphy from Askeaton in Co Limerick, managed to free his harness and swim down river and raise the alarm.
TJ Herlihy and Brian Whelan became trapped when the cage became submerged in the fast flowing waters.
Members of the public have organised a a candlelight vigil to show support for the families of the men. It will take place at Thomond Bridge in Limerick on Saturday September 5th at 8.30pm.
“In times of tragedy like this and in other times Limerick people can show great solidarity. Even though the two men are not from the city our city would like to pay our respects and mourn with their families,” said Cllr Jerry O’Dea, Metropolitian Mayor of Limerick.
“Its a terrible tragedy. They were carrying out their work and the whole city is in shock.”
The company contracted by Limerick City and County Council to carry out the essential repair works on the bridge described the deaths of their employees as “heartbreaking”
It has emerged that one of the victims TJ Herlihy died on the first day of his new job and was waiting for his family to join him in Ireland having moved home to Ireland from Sweden.
It’s understood the father of two was not due to commence work until this week but was called in to work at the weekend.
A statement issued on behalf of Irish Bridge, Ballyengland, Askeaton, Co Limerick, who were contracted by Limerick City and County Council to carry out the essential repair works said:
“Irish Bridge would like to offer its sincerest sympathies to the families of Brian and TJ following this terrible tragedy.
“It’s heart-breaking, our thoughts and prayers are with their families, relatives and friends at this very sad time.”
The company thanked all the emergency service personnel “for their professionalism” adding:
“We will, of course, co-operate fully with all authorities examining the incident. The company will not be making any further comment at this point.”