herald

Sunday 30 April 2017

'Sean meant the world to us', says sister of dad killed in Canada crash

Sean Maher with his twin boys Harry and Ralph shortly after they were born
Sean Maher with his twin boys Harry and Ralph shortly after they were born

A dad who died tragically in a car smash in Canada was planning on bringing his family home to Ireland so his twin boys could go to the same primary school he attended.

Sean Maher, from Ballinglen, Co Wicklow, was killed in Calgary on Sunday when his car lost control on ice and collided with a barrier.

His sister, Sandra Maher, said that Sean had just popped out to the shop to get milk when tragedy struck.

"He was having breakfast with Leane [his partner] and the boys and he went out to get more milk. He told Leane he would be back in a few minutes but his car slipped on ice and his car collided with a barrier.

"We found out last night and it was devastating. Absolutely devastating. We don't have many family members, there's just a few of us. Sean meant the world to us all," she said.

Sandra said that Sean lived for Leane and his twin sons, Harry and Ralph (4).

Caring

"He wanted to bring his boys home to Ireland to start in his primary school," she said.

Sean has been described as a "caring" and "kind" man who loved children.

"He was on Joe Duffy's Liveline show because he helped a woman with children with autism after they were conned by a builder. He offered his services for free because he loved kids and he was very caring and kind," she said.

"Sean's life revolved around children. His twin boys Harry and Ralph turned four last week."

When his father died at a young age, Sean, who is the eldest of four children, became the "man of the house".

"He was so good to me and mum even when he left for Canada. He was such a good chap. Mammy did her best with me and my three brothers after dad died from cancer. It's so devastating for this to happen."

Sandra said that Sean was "loved by everyone".

She praised the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust for their help and compassion.

"We can't thank them enough. We didn't know where to start and they helped us with everything from ringing the hospital to making arrangements for him to come home.

"We hope he'll be home by Friday. We just want to have him here with us and mind him," she added.

The local community are in shock at his death and he has been described as "unbelievably nice and witty".

Sean was a big lover of GAA and his local club paid a touching tribute to him.

"He was always the heart and soul of any craic. He was always up for a good session after a football match," said Annacurra GAA club PRO Adam Nolan.

Mr Nolan also commended Sean for the part he played in the club winning the Junior C championship in 1999.

"When the ball used to leave his foot, only the ball would know where it was going," he added.

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