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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 22 February, 2019
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Tara Street fire station to be renamed after ALONE founder Willie Bermingham

Willie worked as a fire fighter in the station for 26 years and set up the charity ALONE.

Willie, the son of Willie Bermingham, who the station will be named after.
Willie, the son of Willie Bermingham, who the station will be named after.
Image: Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association via Facebook

“I’M THE PROUDEST fireman in the country right now”: the words of Willie Bermingham after hearing the news that Tara Street Fire Station will be renamed after his late father, also Willie Bermingham.

Willie spoke to TheJournal.ie after Dublin City Council voted to bestow the great honour on his father, a well-known firefighter in the capital.

Willie Bermingham worked in Tara Street and he also set up the ALONE charity in the 1970s.

He set up the charity after making a number of grim discoveries. He would find people who had passed away in their homes and see the appalling conditions that people were living in, through his work as a fire-fighter.

ALONE stands for A Little Offering Never Ends and provides support for older people.

In 1988, he was awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Law by Trinity College, however his son said that when he was applauded at the ceremony, he put out his hands to give it back.

‘That was Dad, he would say, ‘It wasn’t me, I just did my bit. I was helped by so many others.’

Willie died two years later in 1990. He became ill with cancer in late February and died just six weeks later.

“Dad left school early, he was educated in the university of life and he fitted more into his 47 years and one month than most people could fit in three lifetimes.”

When Willie was asked how he would describe his Dad, he used a quote by Steve Jobs to sum up his father, describing him as “mad”.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

When asked how he thinks his Dad would react to the renaming, he said:

‘He’d be tickled pink’ but seriously he would just put it back on everyone else and say that it wasn’t him and that he couldn’t have done it without everybody around him.

“To a point that’s true, he couldn’t have done it without my mam and he couldn’t have done it without the help of the firemen he worked with, but also they wouldn’t have done it without him.

“My mam is still alive and she was the backbone of everything Dad did, she is simply elated with this news.

Dad would be so overjoyed that his own city is honouring him. I’ll put it this way, his family was his first love and his firefighter colleagues were his second. As a fire-fighter I can tell you there’s no stronger bond than that between fire-fighters.

“We’re so immensely proud and to think that the place where he worked everyday for 26 years of his life will now remember him forever, is just incredible.

“The lads here all remember him and now his name will be on the paper of this station forever more, his name will live on forever in the job he loved so much.”

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