Friday 28 April 2017

Man to be charged over death of farmer (74) killed in 'row over noise from bird-scaring device'

  • Man (60s) to appear in Tralee court this morning
  • Brother says victim was not living in fear

Ralph Riegel and Shane Phelan

A MAN will appear before a Kerry court today in connection with the murder of elderly farmer Anthony O'Mahony.

The man had been questioned at Listowel Garda Station since yesterday but, on the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions, will appear later today before a Tralee court charged in relation to the Garda investigation.

Gardai fear a simmering row over the use of 'crow bangers' triggered the murder of the 74 year old Kerry farmer with a tele-porter machine.

Anthony O'Mahony (74) died when his car was struck side-on by the tele-porter, a type of heavy agricultural haulage machine, as he visited his farm outside Ballyduff in north Kerry shortly before 9am.

Victim Anthony O’Mahony
Victim Anthony O’Mahony

Mr O'Mahony's brother, Seamas, said his family were "totally heartbroken."

He stressed that there was no inkling his brother was under kind of threat or in any danger.

"We don't know - we thought at the start he was involved in an accident. That's all," he said.

"We used to have a bird banger on below there. (Some people) don't like to hear that going."

"That is the only thing. He would go down there and turn it on at 8am and then turn it off again at 8pm. It was nothing out of the ordinary."

"But no, he absolutely was not (living in fear)."

Mr O'Mahony heard the news of his brother's death as he was travelling in connection with his pre-cast concrete business.

"Margaret (his wife) rang me at 10.30am and told me there was a bad accident over in Rattoo."

"It's been very, very difficult. Anthony was very quiet but very knowledgeable. He was totally dedicated to his work. If he could do a good turn for someone, he would do it."

"There was very few people would have the know-how about grain that he did."

"He was a genius I suppose."

Seamas said he last spoke with his brother on Saturday.

Mr O'Mahony, who was single and unmarried, died at the scene at Rattoo despite desperate efforts by local GPs and paramedics to save him.

While he farmed a holding at Rattoo, he lived around 3km away on the other side of Ballyduff village.

He is understood to have suffered catastrophic injuries to his head and torso in the impact between his car and the heavy agricultural machine which had a pronged extension used for lifting heavy loads.

Part of the large wheels of the tele-porter also mounted Mr O'Mahony's vehicle.

The collision occurred just 100 metres from a local GP surgery.

A man in his 60s, who was known to Mr O'Mahony, was arrested at the scene and taken to Listowel Garda Station for questioning.

He can be held for an initial period of 24 hours.

By 11am, Gardai had launched a murder investigation.

Gardai immediately sealed off the narrow country roadway, some 2km from Ballyduff village, to allow for an examination by Garda Technical Bureau experts.

Uniformed Gardai also began door-to-door inquiries to determine if anyone had witnessed the fatal collision.

Mr O'Mahony's body remained at the scene until it could be examined by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.

The body was then transferred to Tralee for a full post mortem examination shortly before 7pm.

The post mortem examination is expected to conclude today.

Gardai must decide later today whether to release the man in custody or to charge him.

Supt Dan Keane appealed to anyone with information to contact Listowel Garda Station to assist their inquiries.

Supt Keane confirmed that both the deceased and the man in custody were known to each other.

"We would appeal to anyone who may have information or who may have witnessed what happened to contact us," he said.

"This has been a huge shock for the area."

Many farms now using teleporters

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Teleporters are machines that are increasingly popular on Irish farms.

The machines are effectively a cross between a tractor and a fork-lift.

They have traditionally been widely used across European industry for their ability to ferry heavy loads within factories.

Their extension lift capability has made them very valuable for their ability to stack and then retrieve items from heavy duty warehouse shelves.

The machines are built in a variety of sizes depending on need and the weight of the load to be handled.

However, over the past 20 years they have become an increasingly common sight on Irish farms.

This has largely been due to the increasing intensification of Irish agriculture.

As farms have gotten bigger, feeding for livestock has become an even more intensive task.

Teleporters are particularly useful for farmers thanks to their ability to handle large silage bales now commonplace on Irish farms.

This allows farmers to retrieve the bales and then distribute them across whatever feeding station on the farm it is required.

However, teleporters also have other uses which make them a valuable farmyard asset.

They boast exceptional visibility and, thanks to their large wheels and powerful engines, are capable of accessing virtually any terrain.

Teleporters supplement rather than replace the work of tractors on most large-scale Irish farms.

Irish Independent

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