THREE decades of dedication to the fire service was celebrated when Stephen Murphy from the Hacketstown station finally hung up his helmet.
Stephen’s colleagues across the Co Carlow fire service gathered at their training centre in Hacketstown, which he played a substantial part in setting up and building towards one of the top firefighter facilities in Ireland.
He’s well regarded as a highly trained fire and rescue breathing apparatus instructor all over Ireland, so his retirement will be a loss not only on a local level but nationally, too.
His wife Collette, daughter Ann and son Con as well as other family members attended the party, where he was presented with a chrome fireman’s axe by Con, who’s also a member of the fire brigade.
Acting station officer Edward Coleman, who was MC for the night, introduced some key speakers, including director of services with Carlow County Council Dan McInerney. Dan spoke highly of Stephen and his career over the years, highlighting his friendly but controlled approach to training his students and his crew along with his great talent for playing guitar and singing. Dan also recalled how, back in 2011, Stephen and his crew performed at a charity event in Carlow’s GB Shaw Theatre and stole the show.
Acting chief fire officer Alan O’Neill said a few words referencing Stephen’s great skill as incident commander at hundreds of call-outs attended by the crew. Representatives from all four fire stations attended the function, including station officers John Comerford from Carlow, Michael Hogan from Bagenalstown and acting station officer Jim Murphy from Tullow Fire Brigade. They all paid tribute to the popular fireman and made presentations to him on behalf of his many friends and colleagues. Paul Curran, the fire service’s historian and photographer, presented Stephen with a This is your life album of photographs on behalf of all his colleagues across the county. Afterwards, they all headed to Townsend’s Corner Pub for a night’s entertainment when Stephen himself memorably performed a few songs, ensuring his send-off was a blazing success.