TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known and respected Omagh man who died suddenly while he was driving in the town on Friday.
Tony McBride, who was assistant sacristan at Sacred Heart Church in Omagh, will be laid to rest tomorrow (Tuesday).
Emergency services were tasked to the scene of a one-vehicle road traffic collision involving Mr McBride’s car on Brookmount Road in Omagh early on Friday afternoon.
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said that two emergency crews, along with the Air Ambulance, were dispatched to the crash.
In an emotional post on Facebook on Friday evening, Drumragh parish priest, Fr Eugene Hasson, said he had been “deeply shocked” by Mr McBride’s sudden death.
The clergyman said that he had only been speaking to him at 8.30am that day.
He added, “This is a great loss to his wife Chrissy, his daughter Ciara, his extended family and friends and to all of us in this parish of Drumragh.”
Dozens of comments left underneath Fr Hasson’s post reflected the widespread shock felt in the Omagh community at his death.
In another tribute on social media, Omagh man Ciaran O’Doherty passed on his condolences to the family and friends of Mr McBride at this “very sad time”.
“An absolute gentleman who will be sadly missed,” Mr O’Doherty added.
As well as his role in the local chapel, Mr McBride worked for many years as a delivery driver for drinks company, Bass Carrington.
Fondly remembered in GAA circles, the father-of-one, who lived in Culmore Park, played in Omagh St Enda’s championship-winning team in 1963.
He was also a respected GAA referee.
Mr McBride is survived by wife Chris, daughter Ciara, brother Gerry and sister Lita, and the wider family circle.
Removal of his remains is taking place at 7pm tonight (Monday) to Sacred Heart Church, with his funeral due to be held after 10am Requiem Mass tomorrow. He will be buried at Drumragh.
The single-vehicle collision on Brookmount Road was just one of a number of serious incidents across the Omagh area on Friday that were dealt with by the emergency services, which led to substantial traffic congestion in the town during the afternoon.
The Air Ambulance was once again deployed to the area later on Friday afternoon, after a three-vehicle collision at the Curr Road, Beragh, near to Crawford’s Bridge. Police have confirmed a number of people were taken to hospital for treatment to their injuries, which were not believed to be life-threatening.
Following the tailbacks on both the A5 and in Omagh town centre, a post on the PSNI Omagh Facebook page stated, “I just want to say thank you to the vast majority of people who showed patience and understanding with our efforts.”