Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 September 2020

'Our hearts are broken': tributes to Irish teacher killed in Dubai bus crash

Fiona Geraghty, 27, was one of 17 people killed when the bus she was travelling in hit an overhead warning sign

Fiona Geraghty, an Irish teacher who was killed in Thursday's crash. 
Fiona Geraghty, an Irish teacher who was killed in Thursday's crash. 

The family of a young Irish teacher killed in a Dubai bus crash said their hearts were broken by the news.

Fiona Geraghty, 27, was one of 17 people killed when the bus she was travelling on crashed into an overhead warning sign after exiting Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road on Thursday.

The vehicle had come from Oman and initial investigations revealed it took an exit not designated for buses close to the Rashidiya Metro stop.

It is believed Geraghty died in hospital some hours after the crash but her partner – also on the bus – is believed to be in a stable condition at a hospital in Dubai.

Her family – parents and two brothers – posted a tribute on an Irish website that announces death notices.

“It is with broken hearts that we announce the death of Fiona Geraghty, beloved daughter of Christopher and Mary and sister of David and Robert,” the family said.

Geraghty was from Balbriggan, a small town close to the Irish capital, Dublin, and it is believed she arrived in the UAE about a year ago on a career break from her school there.

She had been teaching at the School of Research Science in Al Warqa, Dubai.

“Fiona will be very sadly missed by her loving parents, brothers, partner Fiachra, aunts, uncles, cousins and a very wide circle of friends, teachers and pupils of St Molaga’s National School, Balbriggan and School of Research Science, Dubai,” the statement said.

Geraghty had been returning from a trip to Oman over the Eid Al Fitr break when the accident occurred. Details of funeral arrangements have not been released yet.

Joe McHugh, the Irish minister for education, said news of her death and that of the other victims was desperately sad.

“My deepest sympathy to the parents and family of the young teacher who died in the bus crash,” he tweeted.

Mr McHugh said the Irish embassy in Abu Dhabi would support the family and he also expressed sympathy to the wider teaching community in the UAE.

“The death of a loved one overseas is a deeply difficult circumstance for any family to deal with and our embassy will be there for you.”

The Irish embassy in Abu Dhabi said it was providing consular services to the family.

There are more than 10,000 Irish residents in the UAE, with about a third working in education.

Many are young, recently qualified and drawn by the tax-free wages as salaries for those starting out in Ireland can be low.

Irish education chiefs in the past few months launched a recruitment drive to bring many teachers home as there is now a shortage in Ireland.

Mr McHugh is set to visit the UAE later this month as part of this drive.

Updated: June 11, 2019 02:21 PM

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