10th Anniversary of Limerick Garda & Firefighter Deaths

Date Published : February 25th, 2017    Published By : admin

Today is the 10th Anniversary of Garda Brian Kelleher and Firefighter Michael Liston, who were both knocked down and killed while attending at the scene of a collision outside Foynes, Co. Limerick in the early hours of Sunday 25th February 2007.

A collision had occurred at around 5am on the N69 at Morgan South, Borrigone, between Askeaton and Foynes in which the emergency services were called to.

10th Anniversary Limerick Garda Firefighter Funerals Emergency Times Tribute

While the car was being loaded onto a Transported both the Garda and the firefighter were struck by an oncoming car at around 5.15am. They both died at the scene.

Garda Brian Kelleher, 46 was from Newcastle West and 48-year-old retained Firefighter Michael Liston was from Foynes, Co. Limerick. Garda Kelleher, a father of three boys was based at Croom in Co Limerick, while Firefighter Michael Liston was from Foynes and a father of four.

A 19-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drink driving and taken to Henry Street Garda Station. On 11th December 2007, the driver, from Lenamore, Ballylongford in Co. Kerry was charged in connection with the fatal crash that claimed the life of a Garda Kelleher and Firefighter Liston.

The incident was described by Limerick’s Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Carmel Kirby as 'the worst day ever in the history of the fire service in Co Limerick’

960 LK CFO Carmel Kirby Emergency Times
Pic: Limerick CFO Carmel Kirby leads Guard of Honour
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

The then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, said it was a stark reminder of the risks taken by the Emergency Services. The Garda Representative Association said it highlighted the challenges and dangers inherent in their work while Carmel Kirby, Chief Fire Officer, County Limerick said it was the worst day ever in the history of the fire service in Co Limerick.

960 FF Michael Listons coffin passes Foynes Fire Station Emergency Times
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Limerick East TD Willie O’ Dea was Minister for Defence in 2007 and described the incident as 'A terrible tragedy'. He said people who work in the emergency services could be called out and at any time of the day or night and that made the deaths even more tragic. Both the Defence Minister and the Justice Minister sympathised with the bereaved families on behalf of the Government.


Hundreds of Gardai, Fire Officers, Firefighters and many other service personnel from all over Ireland attended the funerals.

960 Garda Brian Kelleher Funeral Garda Review Emergency Times
Pic: Remains of Garda Brian Kelleher arriving at graveyard
Photo: (Neil Ward / Garda Review)

960 SO Michael Donlon leads cortege
Pic: Foynes Station Officer Michael Donlon leads firefighters cortege
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

At separate funerals in Foynes and Dromin, family, friends and colleagues were told the work of emergency services is often taken for granted. Garda Kellehers’ funeral was held at Dromin while Firefighter Listons’ funeral was held in Foynes.

960 Garda Brian Kelleher Funeral Garda Review
Pic: Funeral of Garda Brian Kelleher
Photo: (Neil Ward / Garda Review)

960 FF Michael Liston funeral leaves church Emergency Times
Pic: Funeral of Firefighter Michael Liston
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

Mourners were told: "We don't think of the serious risks that gardai and fire officers face almost daily, until we are faced with such a tragedy, as we have here today.”

Among them were representatives from the Government and State bodies. President Mary McAleese was represented by Captain Lorraine Fahey from the Defence Forces and Captain Mick Treacy represented Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Martin Cullen, Transport Minister, also attended Garda Kelleher's funeral along with Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy.

AGS Comm Limerick Funeral
Pic: Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy attends FF Listons funeral
Photo: (Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

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