Emotional day as plaque unveiled for late Patrick Doyle
The family of a New Ross man who lost his life tragically young while working on the old river bridge 50 years ago have welcomed the erection of a plaque in his name at the site of the accident.
Patrick Doyle was 29 when he died on September 29, 1968, while demolition works were ongoing on the Old Bridge in New Ross. He fell from a barge whose crew were working on the bridge demolition, drowning as fellow workers and family members working nearby watched on, powerless to save him.
A life buoy was thrown to him but it was too late.
Patrick's widow Mary Doyle, of JKL estate in New Ross, was left to rear a large family of six children.
Following the accident Mrs Doyle sued her late husband's employers, Dublin company M.A.S. Ltd and was awarded £25,793 in the High Court by Mr Justice D'Arcy, but the money was never paid out to her, her daughter Mary said.
Mrs Doyle had pleaded that the system of work was dangerous in that her husband had been required to work on an open-deck barge without railings and without life-saving equipment.
He had not been required to wear a life-jacket and had fallen into the river Barrow when struck by the tiller of the rudder which had been swinging free at the time.
The court at the time directed also that an additional £5,702 be divided among the children, who were aged from nine to 17 at the time of the court case, and invested to their credit.
Mary had campaigned for a plaque in her father's name for five years and was thrilled to hear it was finally being erected by Wexford County Council.
Mary said: 'I lost my father 50 years ago. I was only seven months old so I never knew my father at all. It was really bugging me that he was never acknowledged and I am the youngest in the family. I felt the absence of him my whole life.'
At the ceremony Mary welcomed everyone, saying she thought the day would never come.
Joined by family members including her mother, and officials from New Ross Municipal District Council, Mary said she was very moved to see the plaque at the location where the Old Bridge once crossed the River Barrow, the location near where her father was working half a century ago when his life was so cruelly taken from her and her family.
Saying it was a sad and a happy day for the family, Mary said she was delighted to see her father's name finally acknowledged in New Ross. She thanked her aunts, uncles, mother and all her family for attending.
She also thanked New Ross Municipal District Manager Sinead Casey for attending and Cllr Michael Sheehan, who made representations to the council lobbying for the plaque to be erected over the years.
Mary said: 'It's a place I would have always gone down to over the years from a young age. It was (and is) just a place I connected with. I would stop there and say a prayer.'
She said her late brother Pat, who died in 2011, would have loved to have seen the plaque, as would her brother Martin and Pat.
Cllr Sheehan welcomed the erection of the plaque by Wexford County Council.
New Ross Standard