Memorial seat to the Blaine brothers unveiled in Castlebar

A memorial seat in honour of two local men was unveiled last Thursday on Linenhall Street, Castlebar. The seat was erected opposite the home of Jack and Tommy Blaine from New Antrim Street, who both died in tragic circumstances in July 2013.

Rev John Murray blessed the seat and the ribbon was cut by Caelum McAndrew, a grandson of Paul and Teresa Dunne and the youngest cousin of the Blaine brothers.

Jack and Tommy were natives of Crimlin, Castlebar. They returned from England in the mid-1970s to look after their mother, Delia, who had moved to New Antrim Street. Their father, Michael, had died some years previously. Jack had survived serious injury following a work accident in London when a stairwell collapsed, killing other work colleagues.

After the death of their mother the Blaine brothers remained in Castlebar. Jack, who worked for McAlpines and Wimpeys in London, was employed as a member of the outdoor staff of Mayo County Council before he emigrated. Tommy tended the family farm before he emigrated, where he also worked on the buildings with Jack and their other brother Joe who died in 2011.

In their later years back home both Jack and Tommy were cared for by Jim Brett and nurse Ursula Skerrit. Paul Dunne, a first cousin of the brothers, said: “Both Jim Brett and Ursula Skerrit looked after Jack and Tommy above and beyond the call of duty. They were selfless in their care.”

Jack was a well-known figure as he ‘shuffled’ through the streets of Castlebar. He was more outgoing than Tommy. Both were regulars in Rocky’s, but only for the tea. They were always well looked after by Rocky and his staff. Jack was 76 and Tommy was 69 when they died. The seat, which is a practical piece of street furniture, was erected by McTigue Construction in association with Mayo County Council. The Dunne family thanked the neighbours of the Blaine brothers. “We really appreciate the people who kept an eye out for them and who contacted us when they thought something might be wrong. We would also like to pay tribute to the Gardaí of all ranks who were so helpful and supportive at a very traumatic time.”

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