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'A life of dedication': Funeral to take place of Dublin Fire Brigade's oldest member, who died aged 101

Henry “Harry” O’Keeffe was on duty when the city came under aerial attack in WW2.
Dec 5th 2017, 8:07 AM 11,157 4

DQNEnFCVoAAkpWz Harry O'Keeffe served during World War II when bombs dropped on Dublin. Source: Dublin Fire Brigade via Twitter

THE FUNERAL WILL take place today of the oldest member of Dublin Fire Brigade, who died last week.

Tributes have been paid to Henry “Harry” O’Keeffe, who was 101 years of age and was on duty when Dublin city came under aerial attack during World War 11.

According to a profile of O’Keeffe in Firecall magazine, he was born in Holles Street in May, 1916 and began his career in the fire service in 1938.

He was involved in rescuing people after bombs fell in the Terenure area of Dublin on 2 January, 1941.

O’Keefe’s colleague Paddy Walsh explained how the two of them helped to rescue a woman who was trapped in her house in the area after her roof had fallen in.

His account of how they rescued the woman is captured in The Bombing of Dublin’s North Strand: The Untold Story by Kevin C. Kearns:

“Now I was just five foot nine but another lad with me was a hardy fella, Harry O’Keeffe,” Walsh explained.

“So we got in and everything was in a heap, the front of the house was still intact, but the whole back was down.

There was one joist holding most of the roof still on. So he got down on his hunker, if you like, and held it. Then he says to me, ‘I’ll hold that and give you time to get in.’

O’Keeffe left the fire service in 1963 to work  in the Dublin Corporation Rents Department.

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Featured-image-3-730x486 (1) Harry (bottom row, far left) and his colleagues in DFB. Source: Firecall Magazine

The profile of him concludes:

Looking back, it’s clear that Harry’s life was one of dedication – to his family, his colleagues in Dublin Fire Brigade, and to his lifelong principles.

Harry is survived by his daughter Marie, sons Liam, Brian, Michael, Brendan and Desmond, son-in-law, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, sister Veronica, relatives and friends.

His funeral mass will take place this morning at Our Lady of Consolation Church, Donnycarney at 11am.

Read: Dublin firefighters have just one high-rise vehicle-mounted ladder to work with right now

Read: ‘Really busy, all day and all night’ – Fire crews just had one of their busiest Halloweens in years

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Cormac Fitzgerald


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