Saturday 25 May 2019

Tributes pour in for talented accordion player who died following tragic fire accident at his home

A file photo of the late Joe Quinn who died in a fire in his home in Meelick, Clare. Photo: Press 22
A file photo of the late Joe Quinn who died in a fire in his home in Meelick, Clare. Photo: Press 22

David Raleigh

A well-known Co Clare accordion player has passed away in hospital after sustaining extensive burns in a tragic accident at his home.

The deceased, named locally as Joe Quinn, (89), from Meelick, was caught up in a fire at his home on Friday evening after he fell.

Mr Quinn’s son, Seamus, aged in his 40s, also received burns in the incident when he tried to come to his father’s aid.

It’s the second tragedy to hit the family after Mr Quinn and his wife Alice, lost their son, David, aged in his 20s, in a tragic motorbike road accident on the outskirts of Limerick a number of years ago.

Neighbours were shocked by the tragic events at the Quinn’s family home on Friday evening.

A neighbour said she heard "a scream" coming from the house, and soon afterwards a major presence of emergency services had responded, including firefighters, paramedics, gardai, and two helicopters.

The scene of the incident Photograph Liam Burke Press 22
The scene of the incident Photograph Liam Burke Press 22

According to neighbours Mr Quinn was due to celebrate his 90th birthday next week.

After he was stabilised by paramedics he was brought by stretcher to a nearby field and airlifted to Cork University Hospital serious burns unit by the Air Corps “112” Emergency Aeromedical Service air ambulance.

Seamus Quinn was also airlifted to CUH, by the Shannon-based Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter “115”.

Four units of Limerick City and County Fire and Rescue Service attended the scene, having initially thought they were responding to a “house fire” alert.

Tributes poured in for Mr Quinn, who had worked for CIE, and was devoted to traditional Irish music.

“He was a great performer. He headed up the Joe Quinn Show with a modern band in his later years. They played in all the venues around the mid-west region in their time,” said a source.

“In his earlier days he played accordion with a number of bands including The Dalcassian Ceili Band and he shouldered with other local musicians involved with The Shanakyle Gaelic Circle.

“Joe was a good musician and entertainer, and he used to sing like Jim Reeves. He was a good neighbour,” said another local man.

Paying tribute, Cathal Crowe, a local Fianna Fáil councillor and family friend, said: “I went to school with some of Joe’s children and he is known all across South Clare and beyond. I had only been speaking to him in his house about three weeks ago.”

“He was a very talented accordion player and he performed with many bands. The family are all very respected in the community.”

Mr Crowe said everyone knew the situation at the Quinn home was serious, when two helicopters appeared in the sky over the tight-knit rural community.

“The presence of the helicopters in the sky in the area was what really alarmed people. We knew then things were bad.”

He added: “My thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s wife Alice and all of their children. It's a very traumatic time for the family.”

A garda spokesman said the incident was being treated as a tragic accident.

It's the second fire tragedy to strike at the heart of the community in recent years.

The body of local woman Nellie Moloney, aged in her 70s, was found by firefighters in her home after it was destroyed by fire ten years ago next month.

Ms Moloney’s son, who passed away in 2016, was in the house at the time, but had managed to escape unharmed.

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