'Ride on, Brian' – Tributes paid to Irishman who died in Greece wildfires while on honeymoon
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'Ride on, Brian' – Tributes paid to Irishman who died in Greece wildfires while on honeymoon

TRIBUTES have been paid to an Irishman caught up in the Greek wildfires while on honeymoon, after news of his death was confirmed last night.

Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp and his new wife Zoe Holohan were travelling in a vehicle near the town of Mati when they became caught up in the inferno on Monday.

Ms Holohan - who managed to escape to a nearby beach - is recuperating in hospital after suffering burns to her head and hands, but is expected to make a full recovery.

The Dublin-based couple travelled to Greece on Saturday for their honeymoon after their wedding last Thursday, July 19 at Clonabreany House in Kells, Co. Meath.

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At least 81 people are known to have died in the wildfires (Image: Getty)

They had gotten engaged in the Portuguese resort town of Cais Cais in the spring of 2017.

The families of Mr O’Callaghan-Westropp and Ms Holohan issued a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday evening.

“We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of our family member, Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp,” it read.

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

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Sympathies

Mr O’Callaghan-Westropp was a student and class rep at Dublin's National College of Ireland where he was in the final stages of an MBA.

He also volunteered with Blood Bikes East - a team of motorcyclists who voluntarily deliver emergency medical supplies, such as blood and transplants - to Irish hospitals seven days a week.

Paying tribute to Brian on Facebook, the group said: “Our deepest sympathies go to the wife, families, friends and our Blood Bikes East colleagues on the passing of volunteer Brian O Callaghan-Westropp who died tragically in Greece.

“May he rest in peace. Ride on Brian.”

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Ms Holohan works in the advertising department at the Sunday World and had been in a relationship with her new husband for a number of years.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney described the Dubliner's death as a “terrible tragedy”.

In a statement, Mr Coveney added: “Sending our condolences and solidarity to the family and friends of Brian O'Callaghan-Westropp and to all those who died and suffered from the wild fires in and around Mati.”

An aerial view of Mati after the town was hit by apocalyptic wildfires on Monday (Image: Getty)

'Devastation'

At least 81 people are known to have died in the Greek wildfires, which have swept through the Attica region - near Athens - since Monday.

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In one instance 26 bodies were found huddled close together in a villa in Mati, while a number of people are thought to have drowned after fleeing into the sea.

The first blaze was in the beach town of Kineta, 30 miles west of the Greek capital, followed by fires in Penteli and Rafina, which encompasses Mati, to its east.

A woman walks past burnt cars near Mati where Brian O’Callaghan-Westropp died (Image: Getty)

Rescuers were continuing house-to-house searches for more casualties on Thursday, as more than 200 people recovered from burns and smoke inhalation in hospital.

Meanwhile, the Greek military said it was using footage from US combat drones to determine whether arsonists were behind the blaze.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared three days of national mourning on Tuesday in memory of those killed.

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