FORMER SDLP Assembly member Tommy Gallagher, described as ‘the heart and soul of the SDLP’ in Fermanagh was airlifted to hospital in Belfast on Monday following a serious road collision on the Pettigo Road just outside Kesh.
The 75-year-old was flown by air ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast after he sustained serious injuries when his car was in collision with an atriculated lorry.
It is understood that he underwent treatment for his injuries, which are believed to be non-life threatening, on Monday. He is reported to be in a stable position.
His wife, Eileen, also in the car, was taken to the South West Hospital, but has since been discharged.
The crash happened between Kesh and the Boa Island Road junction around 12.30pm on Monday and the road remained closed until around 9pm.
Local SDLP councillor John Coyle told the Herald, “He was an MLA from 1998 until 2011 and he never forgot the people of Fermanagh South Tyrone. He represented local people and always put them first. My thoughts and prayers are with Tommy and Eileen and their whole family and I wish them a very speedy recovery.”
Simon Bradley, acting principal of St Mary’s High School Brollagh, where Mr Gallagher was a former vice-principal, said he was highly thought of within the school and community.
“We held a special assembly and prayers for Tommy and pray that he recovers from this accident,” said Mr Bradley.
Mr Bradley went on, “Tommy was very supportive of the school over the past 10 to 12 years in our battle to keep the school open.
“He was especially supportive not only for the school to stay open, but for rural education itself. He felt the fabric of society would change if rural education wasn’t kept and rural life and communities would change dramatically.”
Belleek’s Joe O’Loughlin said Tommy was a well known teacher and coach at St Mary’s, Brollagh, and had led the community as a public figure for many years.
“Tommy took over the mantle from the late Tommy Daly and he has certainly done a fine job for his community,” he said.
Belleek businesswoman Bridie Gormley said “They are both very much part of this community and it is of some comfort to learn that Tommy and Eileen are comfortable. Tommy has give great service to Belleek in many spheres over several years and is still very interested in his native place”.
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