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Tributes paid to Dublin honeymooner killed in Greece while attempting to flee wildfires

Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp was attempting to flee the Greek resort of Mati with wife Zoe Holohan when he was killed.
Paul Ainsworth

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A newly-married Dublin man killed in the wildfires that have swept across Greece has been described as "selfless" by colleagues.

Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp was honeymooning with Zoe Holohan when the couple were forced to flee the coastal resort of Mati, close to the capital Athens, on Tuesday evening due to raging wildfires that have consumed parts of the country and left at least 80 people dead.

The newlyweds left the vehicle they were travelling in to escape the flames, and Ms Holohan made her way to a beach where she was rescued.

She was admitted to hospital while her husband was reported missing.

His death was confirmed yesterday by Ireland's Ambassador to Greece, Orla O'Hanrahan, who said: "Our sympathies and hearts go out to his family at this time."

Zoe Holohan pictured at her wedding last Thursday in Co Meath

In a statement last night, a spokesperson for the couple's families said: "We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of our family member, Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp.

"The families would respectfully appreciate privacy at this time as we grieve and as Zoe makes her recovery. Funeral arrangement will be announced at a later stage."

The couple had arrived in Greece last Saturday after their wedding at Clonabreany House in Kells, Co Meath, two days before.

Zoe Holohan and Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp say their vows during their wedding last week. Picture by handout, Press Association

Ms Holohan, who works in advertising for the Sunday World newspaper, suffered burns to her head and hands. The Irish Embassy in Athens is continuing to provide consular assistance to her and her family.

Mr O'Callaghan-Westropp worked in finance for a Dublin catering company and also volunteered for Blood Bikes East, which provides an emergency medical transport service around hospitals in Dublin.

Committee member Franco De Bonis said he started off as a volunteer rider a year ago and very quickly became further involved in the service and was its secretary.

"Brian is a very charitable man - he's one of these people who you know when he's in the room. He has a big voice and he's the type who wants to get things done," Mr De Bonis said.

"He's a man of action and is very selfless. His heart is in the right place and will always want to help. Brian would never walk away from a situation knowing someone needed help."

Members of a rescue team carry an injured woman in Mati, east of Athens. Picture by Thanassis Stavrakis, Associated Press

Following news of the couple being caught up in the fires, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was "devastated" by their plight.

Meanwhile, President Michael D Higgins said he has written to his Greek counterpart, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, to express solidarity with the country as it struggles to cope with the disaster.

At least 187 have been injured in the fires, which are thought to be the deadliest on record in the country.

The death toll exceeds that of blazes in 2007 that killed 77 people when wildfire swept across the southern Peloponnese region.

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