Monday 1 May 2017

Irish man killed in tragic car accident in Canada 'after he left to get more milk for breakfast'

Sean with his twin boys Harry and Ralph
Sean with his twin boys Harry and Ralph

Catherine Devine and Amy Molloy

A Wicklow man died tragically in a car accident in Canada after he left the breakfast table to get more milk for his family.

Sean Maher, from Ballinglen, Co Wicklow, tragically died in Calgary on Sunday after his car slipped on ice and collided with a barrier.

He was planning on bringing his four-year-old twin boys home to Ireland to start school in the same primary school he attended as a child.

His sister Sandra Maher told Independent.ie that Sean was planning on returning to Ireland with twins Harry and Ralph (4) and partner Leane.

Sean with his twin boys Harry and Ralph
Sean with his twin boys Harry and Ralph

"He was having breakfast with Leane and the boys and he went out to get more milk. He told Leane he would be back in a few minutes but his car slipped on ice and his car collided with a barrier.

"We found out last night and it was devastating. Absolutely devastating. We don't have many family members, there's just a few of us. Sean meant the world to us all," Sean's sister Sandra Maher told Independent.ie.

Sean Maher from Ballinglen, Co Wicklow
Sean Maher from Ballinglen, Co Wicklow

Sean has been described as a "caring" and "kind" man who loved children.

"He was on Joe Duffy's Liveline show because he helped a woman with children with autism after they were conned by a builder. He offered his services for free because he loved kids and he was very caring and kind.

"Sean's life revolved around children. His twin boys Harry and Ralph turned four last week."

When Sean's dad died at a young age, Sean who is the eldest of four children became the "man of the house".

"He was so good to me and mum even when he left for Canada. He was such a good chap. Mammy did her best with me and my three brothers after dad died from cancer. It's so devastating for this to happen."

Sandra said that Sean was "loved by everyone".

She praised the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for their help and compassion.

"We can't thank them enough. We didn't know where to start and they helped us with everything from ringing the hospital to making arrangements for him to come home.

"We hope he'll be home by Friday. We just want to have him here with us and mind him."

The local community are in shock at his death and he has been described as "unbelievably nice and witty."

Originally from Ballinglen in Wicklow, Sean was a big lover of GAA and his local club paid a touching tribute to him.

"He was always the heart and soul of any craic. He was always up for a good session after a football match," PRO of Annacurragh GAA club, Adam Nolan told Independent.ie.

"He had a mighty big long kick, as some of the old characters in the club would say.

Mr Nolan also commended Sean for the part he played in the club winning the Junior C championship in 1999.

"When the ball used to leave his foot, only the ball would know where it was going," he added.

Local councillor Pat Doran (FF) also offered his condolences to the Maher family.

"They are a very good, hard-working family and my thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

Annacurragh GAA club also paid tribute to Sean on their Facebook page.

"We remember today a wonderful Annacurragh GAA man who passed away in Canada yesterday. Sean ‘Slinger’ Maher, partner, father, friend, gentleman, footballer. Farewell Sean. Thoughts and sincerest sympathies are with his family, friends and community. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a ainm."

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