Father looks on in horror as toddler son killed by tractor
A FATHER of four looked on in horror as his 18-month-old son suffered fatal injuries after being accidentally knocked down by a tractor in a farmyard.
The toddler, named locally as Fionn Cashman, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident at Fanisk outside Killeagh in east Cork at lunchtime yesterday.
Fionn is the grandson of well-known horse breeder Frank Motherway, and his father, Conor, is a respected east Cork vet, while his mother, Deirdre, is also well known in horse breeding and racing circles.
Fionn is the youngest of the couple's four children, all of whom are aged under nine.
The accident happened shortly before 1pm on a farmyard 3km outside the village of Killeagh, on the Cork-Youghal Road.
It is believed Fionn wandered unseen out into the farmyard and was struck by a reversing tractor.
The little boy's father saw what had happened and raced to help his stricken son before raising the alarm.
However, the toddler suffered multiple injuries and died before he could be transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where a post-mortem was due to be carried out last night by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.
A steady stream of locals called to the farm to offer their sympathy yesterday, including local parish priest Fr Jack Cogan, who said news of the tragedy had completely devastated the local community.
He described the family as "ordinary, hardworking people."
Local Cork county councillor Barbara Murray said the local community was in mourning following the deaths of two children within weeks of each other. "It just doesn't bear thinking about," she said. "People here are still reeling over the accident in Ballymacoda. It has just rocked the entire community."
Gardai and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) officials are investigating the incident, which is being described as a tragic accident.
A spokesman for the HSA said the tragedy was the ninth farm-related death this year. Four children died in farming-related accidents last year, he said, noting that the use of tractors and farm machinery was responsible for 60pc of farm accidents.
It was the second tragic accident involving a child in the area in less than a month.
Six-year-old Luke O'Donovan from the nearby village of Ballymacoda, near Youghal, died after he was struck by a car in a suspected hit-and-run accident while playing near his home on April 14.
A local man was arrested but has been released without charge after a file was sent to the DPP.