DPP to receive file on death of Bray firemen

CRIMINAL prosecutions could be brought in the case of two firemen who died while battling a blaze in an old factory in Bray last September.

The Health and Safety Authority, which investigates workplace accidents, said it is has joined with the Garda in examining the case, and said it intends to send a joint file to the Director of Public Prosecutions once its inquiry has concluded.

Brian Murray, 46, and Mark O’Shaughnessy, 26, were fighting a blaze at a disused factory on September 27, when the roof caved in and killed them.

They were pulled from the burning rubble by colleagues and paramedics who battled to save them — but both men died at the scene.

An investigation was launched by the authority and a separate one by Wicklow County Council.

The authority’s chief executive, Martin O’Halloran, said yesterday there are two senior health and safety inspectors working on the case in conjunction with gardaí.

“When the investigation is complete a joint file will be prepared for the DPP for consideration,” he said.

Mr O’Halloran was addressing the Oireachtas committee on economic regulatory affairs yesterday, when the Wicklow TD, Joe Behan (FF) asked about the investigation.

Mr O’Halloran said a forensics expert from Britain, who worked on a high-profile case involving the death of four firemen in England, has been employed to help out with the inquiry into the Bray deaths.

He said the investigation will focus on aspects of the health and safety law “that require employers to have supervision, training, equipment fit for purpose”.

Following the tragedy, SIPTU criticised Wicklow County Council and the Department of the Environment for failing to introduce a number of safety procedures that were recommended in a report on the fire service.

SIPTU said questions needed to be answered on the adequacy of the breathing apparatus procedure, the command and control procedures and also whether the fire authority carried out a risk assessment of the area.

Mr Behan said yesterday:: “I welcome the fact that gardaí and the HSA are working intently on the issue and they are obviously giving it their upmost attention.”

He said he was “disappointed” that a date has not been given for the complete of the HSA inquiry.

“There would be a concern that if it is referred to the DPP, because it enters into the judicial process, the results would not be made public for quite some time.

” I know the families want answers and it is a big ask for them to have to wait any longer,” he said.

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