Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Community mourns tragic death of popular young man

News of the tragic accident early yesterday (Sunday) morning that claimed the life of a young Silverbridge man has stunned and devastated the wider south Armagh community.

Brian (Bob) Hearty was killed when his car hit a wall at Rathmore, Kilkerley on the main Dundalk to Castleblaney Road around 12.20am.  The sole occupant of the vehicle, he died at the scene. 

Bob was travelling from a function in Crossmaglen marking a charity Truck Run he had taken part in earlier in the evening.  Poignantly, the event coincided with his 26th birthday and he had spent his last hours in the company of family and friends. 

An extremely popular young man, Bob’s friendly personality and amiable good-nature earned him many friends who are devastated at the tragic loss. 

He was well known in the area through his work with the family fuel distribution business, Hearty Fuels, which he operated from a site next to his home on Drumill Road.

Bob’s tragic passing will also be keenly felt by Silverbridge Harps GFC where he was a senior playing member and active contributor to club events. A post on the club Twitter account on Sunday read: “Your prayers are asked for the happy repose of the soul of our senior playing member Mr Brian Hearty RIP (who we lovingly referred to as Bob), who lost his life tragically last night in a road traffic accident.  May he rest in peace.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all his family at this sad time.”

Expressing condolence to the Hearty family, Secretary of Silverbridge Harps GFC, Jarlath Burns, paid tribute to Bob’s contribution to the club: “Bob was a loyal and dedicated player who represented the club as a classy forward at every level and was sponsor of our under 14 team. He comes from a family which is highly respected and steeped in Silverbridge GAA for many years.  He will be deeply missed by his friends on the senior team, but also by everyone in the club because when it came to Bob, to know him was to love him. The club sends its sincerest condolences to his family and friends and all members are asked to support them at this sad time.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Barra Ó Muirí, a neighbour and friend of the deceased, said the community is “heartbroken” for his bereaved family.

“The news of the tragic death of Bob (Brian) Hearty has shocked the local community, we are heartbroken  for the Hearty family on the news of their tragic loss. He was the friendliest of lads, a talented footballer and well got by all.  Bob was a good friend to myself and he was widely known and respected. His grieving family are in our thoughts and prayers as they try to come to terms with this tragedy.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”

Funeral arrangements have been impacted by today’s (Monday) RoI public holiday and remain unconfirmed at time of going to press.  However, following a post mortem examination, Bob’s remains are expected to be released on Tuesday to his grieving family.

Gardaí investigating the fatality have asked anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact Dundalk Garda station on 042 9388400, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda station.

Bob is survived by his heartbroken parents Gerard and Carmel, sister Geraldine, brothers Aidan and Conall, and wide family circle to whom deepest sympathy is extended.