Deceased fireman ‘technically’ didn’t finish shift

THE widow of fireman Brian Murray who died in a factory fire in Bray, Co Wicklow, has claimed the local county council refused to pay his final call out fee.

Mary Murray, a mother of 15, said Wicklow County Council had refused to pay €40 because her husband did not complete his final shift.

“I was told that Brian could not be paid because he did not finish the hour. How could he — he was dead after being burnt alive,” she said yesterday.

Ms Murray stressed she was not fighting for the money — it was a matter of principle.

Six weeks ago, Mr Murray, 46 and his colleague, Mark O’Shaughnessy, 26, perished in the fire.

His daughter, Fiona, 18, discovered that the council had not made out a final pay cheque when she called into Bray Town Hall a week after her father’s death.

Ms Murray telephoned the council’s wages offices and was told technically, her husband had not finished the last hour of his shift.

Ms Murray said she felt very insulted by the council’s penny-pinching and would not be letting the issue go.

Director of services at Wicklow County Council, Tom Murphy, claimed in a Sunday newspaper that he had no knowledge of the e40 payment and also claimed it was the first he had heard about the issue.

Ms Murray also claimed the fire service in Bray had deteriorated even further since the tragic incident.

There was no watch room in the station anymore and the only people there now were office workers, she said. This meant the response time to a fire was even longer.

Firefighters had to use swipe cards to let themselves into the station, collect details of the alert sent by the control room in Tara Street in Dublin and then close the station before heading for the scene of the fire.

“The average response time to a fire at night in Bray is 13 minutes. The time it takes for a fire to consume an average house is 12,” she pointed out.

While she was glad both the police and Health Service Executive were involved in separate investigations into the fatal fire she could not bring herself to trust any finding made in the council’s inquiry.

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