The late Robert (Bobby) Curran
On a cold Christmas Day, Robert Curran left his home for the last time in Ard O Donnell, Letterkenny. The blue lights of " Delta Lima Juliet One" , a white fire appliance, cleared his path against oncoming traffic across Lower Ard O Donnell on his way to his funeral mass. The officer's battered helmet, which accompanied his remains, reminded us of the fireman who gave up his Christmas Day with their families and why the were there. His family braved the elements and insisted on carrying his draped coffin from his family home to St Eunan's Cathedral. It was his wish, even though it was over 25 years since he retired from the Letterkenny Fire Brigade. Robert Curran was the officer-in-charge with a full complement of fire fighters under him on his final call.
The codes that meant so much to this fine leader were honoured both by the fire service and by the army both of which he was a leader of men. In the old FCA he was a commandant and in Letterkenny Fire Service he was a Station Officer. He held these two posts because of his wealth of knowledge and commitment when his was in his prime of life.
There were many days and nights that Robert Curran left his home in Lower Ard O Donnell to answer the call of someone in trouble. He took his responsibly as Station Officer with the Letterkenny Fire Brigade seriously and expected everyone under his command to do the same. Fr. Eamonn Kelly who officiated at his funeral described Robert Curran (or" Bobby" as he was known by most) as a man who was prepared to risk his life and limbs for others in his line of duty. A former boss of Bobby's described him well by saying "If you asked bobby to do something, he would do it with a heart."
Robert Curran had a great understanding of firefighting and most of it in the early days was self-taught. The need to get water to a fire is one of the most basic requirement and Robert was an expert. If he did not understand how something operated he would quietly go away and take something like a pump apart and put it back together again with the knowledge of its working stored in is head for ever more. Robert also understood how important it was for firefighters to wear breathing apparatus in a fire was this feature was included in training. Robert Curran took this technology on board and went to England to train with Lancashire Fire Service as an instructor. He returned to Donegal and was one of the people responsible for introducing and training fireman in the use of breathing apparatus. As always Robert took this roll seriously and expected all who he trained to have the same respect for their own lives.
Robert Curran lived and breathed fire service all of his life, his late brother Paddy joined him in the service in Letterkenny, his son Shaun followed his footsteps as did his youngest son Edward. On Christmas Day, Officer Robert Curran had fire fighters from all over Co. Donegal under the command for the last time. Some of these men had the great benefit of working under him, The Officer Robert Curran, and the father and friend Bobby, answered his last call on this earth with the people he loved and respected most.
He will be sadly missed by all.