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26th Jul 2018

Tributes Paid To Irish Man Who Perished In Greek Wildfires


The Irishman who died in the Greek wildfires has been described as “outgoing and very enthusiastic with a zest for life.”

Brian O’Callaghan-Westhropp was on honeymoon with with wife Zoe Holohan in Mati, Greece when the fires broke out.

The couple were married last Thursday in Clonabreany house in Co. Meath and flew out to Greece on Saturday.

They were there only two days when the fires broke out and swept through the resort town about 30km east of Athens.

The honeymooners tried to run to the safety of the sea but got separated in the chaos.

Brian, originally from Clare, perished in the blaze, but Zoe survived and is being treated for burn injuries in a Greek hospital.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed his death in a statement last night.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Father Shay Casey, a friend of the O’ Callaghan-Westropp family and chaplain at Athlone IT, said Brian “did everything with a full heart and saw the needs of other people around him.”

He said he had a “very generous soul” and would not be slow to help someone in need.

Father Casey said this was not the first tragedy to befall the O’ Callaghan-Westropp family. Brian’s only brother Colm died in a motorbike accident in 1997 aged 21.

His mother, Rosemary, has travelled to Greece in the hopes of bringing Brian’s body home.

His father died some years ago.

In addition to working and being in the final stages of an MBA, Brian volunteered with Blood Bikes East (BBE), which provides free emergency medical transport between hospitals, clinics and medical establishments in Dublin city and the greater Dublin region.

The organisation paid tribute to their “colleague and dear friend.”

“We are beyond devastated at the confirmation that the fires in Greece took Brian from us.

“A diligent colleague and dear friend, we will miss Brian’s huge personality and infectious smile. His no-nonsense, can-do approach to the work of volunteering meant that he helped BBE to become the professional organisation we are today…”

Zoe, who works in the advertising department of the Sunday World, suffered burns to her head and hands but is expected to make a full recovery.

“The families would respectfully appreciate privacy at this time as we grieve and as Zoe makes her recovery,” it said.

The current death toll is now 81, but that is expected to rise over the coming days.