As the dust settles on the anniversary of the attack of the twin towers on 9/11 a Dundalk man has been remembering the life of his nephew Timothy McSweeney who died during that tragic event. Peader Hughes says his nephew was a very popular character who loved Dundalk and often visited the town forming friendships with a number of fire fighters in town. Timothy’s mother Maureen Hughes was born and raised in the Laurels, Dundalk before emigrating to New York to work as a nurse when she was in her early twenties.
There she met Denis McSweeney, a New York fireman who she married and settled down with. The couple would have four children including first born Timothy. According to Peader his nephew always wanted to follow in his fathers footsteps and join the FDNY.
“Timothy was a great fellow and a very popular guy. He was over 6ft and something of a gentle giant. He followed in his Dad’s footsteps and joined the Fire Department in New York where he was assigned to Ladder Company 3 in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. He was very proud of his Dundalk roots and he made regular visits to the town both as a boy and a man. He absolutely loved Dundalk and over the years he became very good friends with a few of the firemen down in Dundalk station. Whenever he came over for a visit we would all go down to McAlester’s in Bridge Street for a pint and he absolutely loved that,” recalls Peader.
Timothy was on duty when two hijacked airplanes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Centre. He and his colleagues were amongst the first on the scene and whilst helping burn victims in Tower 1 it is believed the tower collapsed in on them killing both Timothy and eleven of his colleagues. Timothy left behind a loving wife (Debbie) and three kids. According to Peader there was shock and sorrow around town when the news came that Timothy had been killed in the attack.
“We got word from my brother and sisters who were also living in America at the time and we were stunned. Maureen had died six months beforehand which was probably for the best as it would have broken her heart to see her son die like that,” explained Peader. “His Dad Denis and his family were understandably distraught upon hearing the news. It was just all so sad. I know that a group of lads from the fire station who he considered great pals travelled over to New York for his funeral. We always think of him around this time of year and probably even more so this year given the fact it is the twentieth anniversary of the attack. For me I will always remember his great big smile and his love for this town,” stated Peader.