Probe into wall collapse begins as families mourn

Health and safety officials were last night trying to establish what may have caused a 12m wall to collapse at a DIY and garden centre in Longford on Tuesday, killing two men and injuring four others.

Probe into wall collapse begins as families mourn

Sean Mulleady, 47, from Drumlish, and Pat Gaffney, who was in his 60s and from Tarmonbarry, died when an internal wall gave way, trapping them, along with four others, at the Connacht Gold DIY and Garden Centre.

Two of those injured have since been discharged from hospital, with two more still being cared for at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore, although their conditions are not believed to be life threatening.

The pair are understood to be a staff member and sales representative from Connacht Gold.

One of a number of shoppers in the store at the time of the incident, Elizabeth Fallon, said she was struggling to come to terms with the tragic events of Tuesday afternoon.

“I can’t even shut my eyes because every time I do, I keep getting flashbacks,” she said.

Ms Fallon said she had only just finished talking to Mr Gaffney, who she knew from her time spent in Tarmonbarry, along the Longford-Roscommon border.

She also confided to being “nervous” as she and her 24-year-old son, Bernard, turned their attentions to helping those caught under the fallen rubble.

“I only went in to get some daffodil bulbs and my son decided to come with me as he wanted to pick up some work gear,” she said. “I had just paid for the stuff when it all happened. It’s was like a nightmare.”

As survivors and witnesses attempt to come to terms with what happened, tributes have meanwhile been paid to the dead men.

Mr Mulleady, originally from Drumlish, was a high- profile member of local firm The Mulleady Group, which operated construction and waste management businesses.

His first cousin, Longford County Councillor Martin Mulleady, said the father of three would be remembered for his hard-working demeanour and honest approach to everyday life.

“He was a gifted man especially with his hands. He could do anything. He was a great family man and helped me out a lot when election time came around. It’s a big loss to the family.”

Mr Mulleady is survived by his wife Theresa, children Mark, David, and Claire, and mother Sadie.

Like Mr Mulleady, community and family played a big part in Mr Gaffney’s day-to-day routine. His wife Patsy is believed to have been waiting in the car when the wall collapsed at about 2pm. He is also survived by a son, John, and daughter, Denise.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Authority meanwhile, refused to say if the focus of the probe was likely to centre on whether high winds may have played a part in the wall’s collapse.

“We are investigating what happened, that’s all we can say at this stage,” said the spokesmas.

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