Hundreds gather to mourn Thomond Bridge accident victim Bryan Whelan

Hundreds of people have attended the removal of Bryan Whelan tonight following his tragic death last Saturday.

Hundreds gather to mourn Thomond Bridge accident victim Bryan Whelan

Hundreds of people have attended the removal of Bryan Whelan tonight following his tragic death last Saturday.

His coffin was draped in the Broadford GAA club jersey. Members of the club performed a guard of honour as the coffin was removed from McMahon's Funeral Home, Blackwater, to St Mary's Church, Kilbane, for midday Mass on Tuesday.

Fr John Bane, PP Broadford, praised the Whelans for finding "great strength" in their terrible grief.

"It's been an exhausting for them," he added.

Fr Bane said the local community had performed "brilliantly" in their show of support for the family.

Crowds of people also gathered at the home up until the early hours of this morning to offer their sympathies.

It has also emerged that the shocking death of Bryan Whelan was the second tragedy to strike his heartbroken family.

Sources close to the Whelan's revealed how an uncle of Bryan's was killed in a motorcycle accident 37 years ago.

"Bryan's father John went through the heartache of losing a brother in a motorcycle crash and now he has lost a son," said a source close to the family.

"It's unbearable to think about it. They are such a private and quiet family. They are great neighbours," the source added.

Mr Whelan, 29, from Bridgetown, Co Clare, along with his colleague at Irish Bridge, Timothy "TJ" O'Herlihy, 36, from Castleisland, Co Kerry, were both found by rescue divers "unresponsive" in their life jackets which had been strapped onto a cage platform that fell into the River Shannon last Saturday.

They had been carrying out restoration works to Thomond Bridge, Limerick City, when a cable that was holding their platform, that was suspended out over the bridge, gave way, sending the cage and the men into the river.

They were both pronounced dead later at University Hospital Limerick.

A third workman, Paul Murphy, 36, from Askeaton, managed to disconnect his life jacket from the platform, and was rescued by search and rescue divers who quickly responded to the scene.

A candle light vigil in memory of Mr Whelan and Mr O'Herlihy is to take place at Thomond Bridge where two men lost their lives, on September 5.

It has also emerged TJ O'Herlihy died on the first day of the job and was waiting for his partner Tessa and children Conor and Katie, to join him in Ireland, after he recently moved home from Sweden.

His father Timothy Snr, who co-runs a panel beating garage in Castleisland, is a well-known member of the Munster Rugby Junior All-Ireland Committee.

Mr O'Herlihy's removal takes place on Thursday at Tangney's Funeral Home, Castleisland, from 5pm to 7pm, followed by Requiem Mass on Friday at 11am in Castleisland Parish Church, with burial afterwards in Kilbanivane Cemetery, Castleisland.

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