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Monday 24 April 2017

Man killed in wasp attack unaware of lethal allergy

Michael McHale

THE family of a father of two who died after being attacked by a swarm of wasps, said last night that he had no idea he was allergic to the stings as he had never been stung before.

Oliver Gacquin (47) was buried at the weekend after suffering a massive anaphylactic shock from the attack when he moved a bale of hay and disrupted a nest of wasps on his farm in Curraghboy, Co Roscommon, last Wednesday.

The farmer endured seven hours of agony before losing his fight for life just before midnight on Wednesday in Roscommon County Hospital.

Yesterday, his sister-in-law, Carmel Gacquin, told of the family's shock at hearing of his fatal allergy.

"He was on the farm all his life," Ms Gacquin told the Irish Independent. "It was the family farm and he had built a new house there for his own family. He had sheep, cattle, horses. . . he absolutely loved the land."

Oliver's father, John, and 13-year-old son, Raymond, looked on in horror at the attack, which took place at around 4.30pm. Within 15 minutes the farmer's brother William rushed to the field where he lay to bring him to hospital.

On Sunday, hundreds gathered to pay their respects to Mr Gacquin at his funeral, celebrated by local parish priest Fr Hugh Lee and Bishop of Elphin Christopher Jones, in St Brigid's Church, Curraghboy.

Members of the farming community also formed a guard of honour as his coffin made its way into the church.

Ms Gacquin described how her brother-in-law was preparing for an upcoming station Mass in his parents' home when the tragedy struck.

Shock

"Oliver loved to go to agricultural shows," she added. "His big one every year was the Tullamore show, where he brought the boys along as well. The whole community is in shock, but he got a great send-off."

Local independent councillor and neighbour Tony Ward said a "dark cloud" remained over the parish. "In my lifetime, there have been a lot of tragedies in the parish but this has been the worst, such was the freak nature of this accident," he said.

Mr Gacquin is survived by his wife Rosaleen, sons Colm (23) and Raymond, his parents John and Nellie, brother William and sister Maureen.

Irish Independent

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