Almost €30,000 has been raised for an injured elderly man who lost his younger brother in a house fire.
Dominic Brennan, who is in his 70s, was treated for smoke inhalation in a bid to rescue his younger brother Oliver, 66, when he returned to the blazing home they shared together in Jenkinstown, Co Kilkenny last week.
The late Mr Brennan, was the uncle of Kilkenny camogie manager Brian Dowling.
The blaze broke out shortly before midday and was discovered by Dominic when he returned home after being in Kilkenny city for a couple of hours that morning.
Dominic’s dog survived the fire but his home was left gutted by the extensive fire.
Local Fianna Fáil councillor Pat Fitzpatrick said the community is “still in shock” over the passing of Mr Brennan whom he described as a “quiet man who loved his community”. The friends previously worked together in a box factory in Kilkenny city.
The local GAA community and neighbours of Mr Brennan are now rallying around Dominic and his family as hundreds of people have donated to the fundraising efforts.
A Kilkenny camogie spokesperson said: “Our amazing manager Brian Dowling has suffered a tragedy last week when one of his uncles died in a house fire and left his other uncle with nothing.
“Any help our GAA communities can give would be very much appreciated however small a donation to get Brian’s uncle back on his feet again.”
Brian Dowling, Kilkenny Camogie manager speaking on KCLR96FM said: “The girls on the Kilkenny (camogie) team and the Cork team have been very helpful especially in these tough times. We are trying to get our heads around what’s happened over the past few days.
“Oliver had a very difficult start in life as he was diagnosed with Polio at the age of two. He spent a few years away from his family in Dublin and lived with Polio all his life.
“Dom was very good to him and brought him into town (Kilkenny city). He was a quiet man, loved the simple things in life, but he loved people. He loved his hurling and Manchester United. He is a huge loss to our family.
“On behalf of the family we would like to thank everyone. People have a lot going on, but we are so appreciative to all. The fundraising is giving a huge lift to Dom.
“We thought €20,000 was a huge ask for people, but we are overwhelmed by how generous people are being. He can’t get over how helpful everyone is being. Hopefully we can get life’s Dom back on track.
“Anyone that was a regular visitor to Jenkinstown wood area would know the house as it was colourful and has a lake at the back and Jessie their dog.”
Rebuilding his life from scratch
Another nephew, Sean Dowling, started the gofundme.com fundraising page on Tuesday with a goal of raising €20,000 for his uncle as his home has been destroyed. Already €28,632 has been donated by the public.
Mr Dowling explained that last Wednesday, “started as any normal day in the lives of two elderly brothers, Dominic and Oliver Brennan in Jenkinstown in Kilkenny.”
He said: “By lunchtime, their lives were altered forever. A fire broke out in their home taking the house, all its contents, and with deep regret I write, the life of Oliver who couldn't escape the flames.
“Dominic, now stricken with grief, homeless and with nothing but the dog that also escaped is now left to rebuild his life from scratch and as a family and community, we have organised this fundraiser with the hope that we can lighten the financial load for Dominic and show our solidarity and support.”
Mr Dowling thanked his local community for all the support they had received since the death of his uncle.
“As Dominic and Oliver's family we want to our express our deep gratitude for any support you can give. We appreciate that right now everyone is under enormous financial stress and there are so many worthy causes to donate to. Any donation no matter how small is greatly appreciated,” he said.
The cause of the blaze continues to be investigated by fire services and Gardaí. The fire is not being treated as suspicious.
Mr Brennan is survived by his brothers Peter and Dominic, sisters Breda, Margaret, Alice and Terry. His brothers-in-law Shem, Eamonn, Pat and Martin, sister-in-law Marie and extended family.
Mr Brennan was laid to rest in Conahy Cemetery following his Requiem Mass at 2.30pm on Sunday.
Donations can be made to gofundme.com/A little help will go a long way.