County Chief 'S Arrest over Firemen's Death; Manager Quizzed about 2007 Blaze in Which Two Died

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Creer

A COUNTY boss has been arrested by gardai investigating the deaths of two firemen who were fighting a blaze at an abandoned warehouse.

It is believed that Wicklow County manager Eddie Sheehy was arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Part-time firemen Brian Murray, 46, and Mark O'Shaughnessy, 26, died when the roof of the warehouse collapsed on them in September 2007.

Critics have claimed the two colleagues did not have adequate resources to cope with the fire.

While gardai and the council would not confirm the identity of the arrested man, who was being held under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act, sources close to the council admitted it was Mr Sheehy.

He can be held for up to 24 hours at Bray Garda station, with the arrest having come nearly 30 months after the fatal accident.

It is also believed that gardai had previously sealed off council buildings while searching for computer files that relate to the accident.

Brian Murray, a father of 15, and Mark O'Shaughnessy were among five firemen who responded to a call to a fire on the Lower Dargle Road in Bray.

The two men perished as they battled the blaze from inside. Sources attached to the fire service said: 'There were only five men there and rumours that a homeless man was living inside.

'They knew that there was no back up coming so they took decisions which ultimately led to their deaths.

'They should have had a hydraulic platform which meant they could get above the level of the fire but that was not available.' It is believed Mr Sheehy's arrest came about because of an almost decade-old change to health and safety laws which means that the culpability for accidents can be attached to clients, councils and employers.

Darren Murphy, the spokesman for the two families, commended the gardai for their actions 'We have always felt that the gardai should be looking at senior management in the fire service and County Council,' Mr Murphy added. …