Former Lurgan firefighter dies in A1 accident

PSNI
PSNI

Tributes have been paid to former Lurgan firefighter Eugene McNally who has died in an accident near Newry.

Mr McNally, who recently retired from the NI Fire and Rescue Service, had been a firefighter for 32 years.

He had been a Watch Commander in Newry Fire Station, however he was based in Lurgan station around 15 years ago.

He recently returned to take part in a charity event, Lap of the Lough, to raise funds for another Lurgan firefighter, Larry Ward, who had died earlier this year.

Mr McNally and his colleagues were raising funds for Mr Ward’s children in the run up to Christmas.

He had worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Southern Area Hospice in Newry and for the Children of Chernobyl.

NIFRS Southern Area Commander John Denvir said: “Our thoughts are with Eugene’s family at this very sad time.

“We were all deeply saddened about his death. Eugene was a well-respected colleague who was greatly admired for his dedication to the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service. Eugene was well known within the local area, so his death will be greatly felt across the community. It’s a very sad day for our station and the organisation.

“We will always remember him for his work within the local community and his commitment to helping others. Eugene was also a very keen cyclist, who helped to raise money for many local charities in the area. Eugene was heavily involved in the recent cycling event held at Lurgan Fire Station in memory of a former colleague. His kind-hearted manner made him an extremely popular Firefighter at Newry Fire Station.”

He added: “Firefighters across Northern Ireland work very closely together – we’re like family - so news like this impacts everyone.

“Eugene was a husband, father and esteemed colleague. He will be greatly missed.”

The PSNI is appealing for witnesses to the A1 crash which happened at around 5.30pm on Tuesday.

Two other men, both aged in their 30s, were taken to hospital following the crash, but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Inspector Stephen Humphries said: “A silver Mazda 3 and blue Volkswagen Caddy were involved in the collision. I would ask anyone who witnessed those vehicles in the area before the road traffic collision to contact Ardmore police station or the collision investigation unit at Sprucefield on non emergency number 101.”