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28/09/2021

Widow of Dungiven firefighter rejects apology over his death

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The wife of a Dungiven firefighter has rejected an unreserved apology from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) over his death as he helped tackle a blaze at a Limavady hotel 15 years ago, Joe McCloskey died hours after falling through a roof at the Gorteen Hotel into 2003 into a blazing store room. NIFRS accepted liability for the 50-year-old’s death in 2007. And, in a statement the fire and rescue service said it had offered Mr McCloskey’s family on May 11 this year and offered an “unreserved apology” over the tragedy. The statement also said: “The failings were identified through a recent review by the Department of Health. “NIFRS accepted the findings of the review and has revised and amended policies in line with review recommendations.” However, speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, Joe McCloskey’s wife Marie said she did not accept the apology from her late husband’s former employer as it didn't go far enough. “It’s very hard because actions speak louder than words. And, personally speaking for the children and grandchildren, when they read this letter further down the line they will realise that I tried to do everything I possibly could do to try and find out what happened that night to Joe and why he lost his life. “But, personally speaking foe me the letter doesn’t mean anything because all we ever wanted to know is what happened that night. No family should ever have to fight for 15 years to find out what happened to their loved one. “He was ordered onto the roof that night, he was carrying out an order he was given and all we wanted know after we got their statements was who gave the order and we are still asking and we want the fire service to come out and answer.”

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