Wednesday 7 December 2016

Tragic brother who died in sewer incident to have beloved 'BlueBird Dublin van' as hearse

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 12/06/2015 | 15:18

The wife of one of the Harris brothers killed in a tragic sewer incident is hoping that Alan's beloved 'BlueBird Dublin Van' will be the hearse at his funeral
The wife of one of the Harris brothers killed in a tragic sewer incident is hoping that Alan's beloved 'BlueBird Dublin Van' will be the hearse at his funeral
Alan Harris (45) and his younger brother Steve (32) in an image posted by their cousin, Irish footballer Robbie Keane, to his Facebook
The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracey Pic: Facebook
The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracy Pic: Facebook
A tribute to Alan Harris on his wife Tracy Glynn Harris' Facebook page. 11/6/2015. Alan died in an industrial accident in Portmarnock on 10/6/2015

The wife of one of the brothers killed in a tragic sewer incident is hoping that Alan Harris' beloved 'BlueBird Dublin Van' will be the hearse at his funeral.

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Alan Harris (45) and Steve Harris (34) died following an incident on Wednesday in which the brothers were overcome by toxic fumes while working on a sewer in the Dumnigh Wood estate in Portmarnock.

Steve Harris entered the sewer and attempted to save his brother’s life before the gases overpowered him too.

Steve died in Beaumont hospital this morning at 9am after bravely fighting for his life for two days.

Alan's beloved 'Bluebird Van' (Photo: Facebook/BlueBird Dublin Van)
Alan's beloved 'Bluebird Van' (Photo: Facebook/BlueBird Dublin Van)

The Harris family have been left reeling with the deaths of the two dads. The pair are survived by their mother Gertrude, four brothers David, Mark, Darren, Derek and Stephen and sister Grainne.

Bothe men are first cousins of Ireland soccer star Robbie Keane.

Tracy Glynn Harris, grieving widow of Alan, said she hopes the major Dublin fan's well-known 'BlueBird Dublin Van' will be his hearse.

“I’m seeing the funeral director and I’m hoping that’s going to be his hearse. That’s going to be what’s going to transport him to St Agnes Church in Crumlin,” Tracy said.

The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracey
Pic: Facebook
The late Alan Harris with his wife Tracey Pic: Facebook

Read more: 'Steve died a hero trying to save his brother...he will always be our hero' - Family's tribute to second man who died following tragic sewer incident

She also made an emotional tribute to her 'soulmate', describing him as 'one in a million' following his death.

Tracy worked with her husband at his company DrainTech and said her heart had been broken 'into a million pieces'.

She received the devastating news while in Turkey on holidays. Alan was due to join her this weekend. The couple, married 22 years, have two grown-up children, Nicole and Alan junior.

“I’m just devastated,” Tracy said. “Alan was one in a million.

“He worked hard, he ran a small company and that was his life. his family and his work.”

Ms Harris described how the family of four were very close, and that their children “are more like friends”.

“We did everything together as a family. My son is just after flying in, he works in Dubai, my heart goes out to the two children.

“I don’t know what happened yesterday. I just know that Alan went into the tank and we don’t know what happened after that,” she said.

Read more: Tragedy for brothers in accident at sewer works

Ms Harris went on to describe the agonising trip back to Dublin from Turkey.

“I don’t know if Stephen went in with him or went in after him. Twelve hours in five different airports coming home from Turkey to get home. I cried for 12 hours.

“I got the call and I was on the beach in Kusadasi. Alan and the whole family were coming over on Saturday, his brothers were coming over with the children,” she said.

The Harris family grew up in Monasterboice Road, Crumlin in Dublin.

Steve was a keen actor.

He was also set to star in an Irish film due out next year.

The art house comedy is called Thank You Come Again.

Those involved in the film said, “Our cast member and good friend Steve Harris is in our thoughts and prayers today”.

Read more: Tributes to dead brother as two more killed in work accidents

The Facebook page said Steve had been acting since he was 14.

“He started out doing TV and film, but decided to move over to stage. After 10 years of stage he came back to movies and done loads of films. Steve also does a bit of writing and his best experience to date was being able to act alongside his five year old son”.

His heartbroken brother Mark stated that Alan was 'a special man'.

In a moving tribute on Facebook, he said: “My heart is broken today about the death of one of my wonderful brothers, Alan Harris, a special man who I looked up to. His achievements in life are too numerous to mention. He will always have a special place in my heart.”

Alan Harris lived in Clonee, and the local soccer club Clonee United paid tribute on social media.

He was a close friend of several club members and they offered “heartfelt condolences” to his family.

A number of investigations into the tragedy are under way.

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