Man killed in A1 crash was a 'kind-hearted' firefighter
A MAN killed in a two-car crash on the main Belfast-Dublin road was a "kind-hearted" father-of-three who had only recently retired from the fire service.
Eugene McNally, who was 56 and from Laurencetown, Co Down, had spent more than three decades as a firefighter.
He was involved in a collision on the A1 between Newry and Loughbrickland at around 5.30pm on Tuesday.
Two men in their thirties were also hurt but police said their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
One was said to be in a stable condition in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, while the other was later discharged from Daisy Hill in Newry.
Speaking on behalf of Mr McNally's family, funeral director Ciaran Heaney said they were "devastated and very sad by the loss of their father and the grandchildren have lost their dear grandad".
The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) also paid tribute to Mr McNally, who was a former Watch Commander at Newry Fire Station.
Sad news for the family, friends and former colleagues of Eugene who had recently retired from Newry Station https://t.co/FzCFeKwdK9— NIFRSSouth (@nifrssouth) December 2, 2015
Southern area commander John Denvir said it was "deeply saddened" by the news.
"Firefighters across Northern Ireland work very closely together - we’re like family - so news like this impacts everyone," he said.
"Eugene was a well-respected colleague who was greatly admired for his dedication to the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.
"Eugene was well known within the local area, so his death will be greatly felt across the community. It’s a very sad day for our station and the organisation."
The NIFRS also paid tribute to the firefighter on their Twitter page.
Thoughts with Red Watch Newry @nifrssouth following the death of ex-colleague Eugene McNally. Condolences to the McNally family.— NIFRS (@NIFRSOFFICIAL) December 2, 2015
Mr Denvir said Mr McNally would also be remembered for "his work within the local community and his commitment to helping others".
"Eugene was also a very keen cyclist, who helped to raise money for many local charities in the area. Eugene was heavily involved in the recent cycling event held at Lurgan Fire Station in memory of a former colleague.
"His kind-hearted manner made him an extremely popular firefighter at Newry Fire Station".
He added: "Eugene was a husband, father and esteemed colleague. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with Eugene’s family at this very sad time.
Requiem Mass for Mr McNally will take place at noon on Saturday at St Colman's Church in Laurencetown, with burial in the adjoining cemetery.
Mr McNally is survived by his wife Christine, daughters Linzi and Laura and son Paul as well as his grandchildren and wider family circle.