Friday 26 December 2014

Father-of-five (57) dies in tragic farm accident

Pat Flynn

Published 04/09/2014 | 10:15

It is understood that the man – who is aged in his 60s – was struck by his own tractor.
It is understood that the man – who is aged in his 60s – was struck by his own tractor.

A 57-year-old father of five has died following an apparent farm accident in Co Clare the second in the county in a fortnight.

Mr Gerry O’Connell was was found dead next to his tractor next to a shed adjacent to the church and graveyard at Ballyea shortly before 10 o’clock on Wednesday night.

It’s understood Mr O’Connell was last seen alive at around 7.00pm when he left his home to move cattle from his uncle’s land to sloblands close to the Shannon Estuary.

It’s believed he had been moving cattle from a shed into a trailer when he was crushed by a tractor. The tragedy happened happened just 700 metres from Mr O’Connell’s home.

According to one local: “This is a terrible tragedy and the family is devastated. One of the girls (daughter) had been up around 9 o’clock when there was no sign of him coming home. She saw the tractor at the shed and it was still running and there was no suggestion there was anything wrong.”

It’s understood that family members returned to check on Mr O’Connell a short time later and he was discovered beneath the tractor.

The emergency services were alerted and gardaí, along with an ambulance and a rapid response advanced paramedic unit from Ennis, responded to the incident. Mr O’Connell was however pronounced dead at the scene.

The area was sealed off and a preliminary examination was undertaken before Mr O’Connell’s body was removed to University Hospital Limerick for a postmortem examination.

The cattle were unloaded again and the tractor and trailer moved from the scene to a safer area a short distance away.

An inspector from the Health and Safety Authority and a garda forensic expert visited the scene early yesterday and examined the vehicle and the area where the tragedy occurred.

The tractor and trailer were moved back into the position they were found at the time of the tragedy and a further examination of the scene was undertaken there also.

Mr O’Connell is survived by his wife Frances, as well as sons Gearóid, David and Paddy and daughters Louise and Emma.

“Gerry was a fierce hard worker and a lovely man altogether. This is unbelievable, an awful tragedy. All the family is very sporting and very well known not just in Ballyea but all over,” another local said.

Mr O’Connell’s son Gearóid is a member of the Clare U21 hurling side that will play in the All-Ireland final next week. Another son, Paddy, is also well known club hurler and footballer.

The tragedy is the second to take place on a farm in Clare in a fortnight.

On August 20th, a 38-year-old single man died while he was fitting a when to a vehicle near his home in Liscannor.

TJ McDonagh, an agricultural contractor from Liscannor Co Clare, sustained a serious head injury when the tyre exploded.

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