Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

Father-of-three and former ploughing champion killed in tragic farming accident was 'the best of the best'

Martin Kehoe Jnr was an 'incredibly hard-working individual' - says family member

"It's an unbelievable disaster" - Community in shock after death of much-loved family man Martin Kehoe Jnr

Alan O'Keeffe, Amy Molloy and Louise Hogan

A hard-working father-of-three and former national ploughing champion who died in a tragic farming accident today has been described as "the best of the best".

The man, who died in the accident in Foulksmills, Co Wexford on Tuesday, was an "incredibly hard-working individual" who will be greatly missed, a relative also said.

The man has been named as Martin Kehoe Jnr, a son of Martin Kehoe, the world champion ploughman.

The well-known farmer, in his thirties, was involved in a farming accident involving a molasses tank and is understood to have been changing a pipe at the time of the tragedy.

Martin Kehoe Jr
Martin Kehoe Jr

Speaking at the farm where the tragedy happened, the victim's uncle Willie Kehoe said; "It's terrible. Martin was the best of the best.

"It's an unbelievable disaster."

The grieving uncle said the whole family was completely stunned by what had happened.

Martin Junior and his wife had recently celebrated the birth of their third child, a son, just three months ago, he said.

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The couple also had two young daughters.

"Everything had been going so well for Martin and the family.  He had a great business going with meal and animal feeds. The business was absolutely flying," he said.

"My own son Seamus was best friends with Martin.  He and all of us are devastated by what's happened.

Martin Junior had achieved national success as a young man in ploughing championships but had given up competitive ploughing to concentrate on the family farm business.

His grandfather Willie won numerous senior titles for ploughing and the tradition was passed on down through the family.

Willie Kehoe, a brother of world champion ploughman Martin Snr, is also renowned in the area for his sporting career in international tug-of-war events.

Speaking at the Ploughing today, Anna May McHugh said the family is synonymous with the ploughing as his father Martin was due to compete in the senior conventional class.

Martin Snr won the senior All Ireland on 12 occasions and three times world champion and this was his youngest son Martin who was involved in a tragic farm accident today.

Ms McHugh said the young farmer had also competed in the Under-21 class and was a former national champion himself.

"My deepest sympathy to his wife Kerry and his three children who are very young," said Mrs McHugh.

"We are deeply saddened about that news because his father Martin was on the site here preparing for the competition.

"Anyone that speaks about ploughing the first person that they mention is Martin Kehoe as he was wonderful for encouraging the younger people to plough and he had done a lot. His own three daughters competed in the farmerette class," she said.

"We are deeply saddened."

Martin Kehoe Snr was coaching the under-21 when he got the news, while his brother Willie John Kehoe was working on the Kehoe Farming stand.

Health and Safety Authority (HSA) inspectors attended the scene of the accident in Foulksmills, Co Wexford.

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