Friday 24 January 2020

Boy (15) tried to save father who died in roof fall

Mark O'Regan and Pat Flynn

THE heartbroken mother of a man who died in a freak farming accident has spoken of her 15-year-old grandson's frantic attempts to save his father's life.

Edmund Burke (54), of Danganelly, Co Clare, was repairing the roof of a hay shed on the family farm when he slipped and fell head first to the ground.

The accident happened shortly after 4pm on Wednesday as he was laying down metal sheets on the roof.

His mother, Liz (72), who had been in the yard at the time, discovered his body at 4.15pm on at the side of the shed.

She called for help and Mr Burke's youngest son, Killian (15), rushed to his father's aid and called for an ambulance.


"He had only just started putting down cladding on the new roof and came down when the cladding slipped," Mrs Burke told the Irish Independent.

"He fell 12ft on top of his head and split his skull. We think he broke his neck as well.

"I found it difficult to talk to the lady from the emergency services so Killian took over. She was instructing him what to do to try and save Edmond.

"He tried lifting him up against the shed but he was too heavy so he then pushed down on his chest to resuscitate him but after a while Killian said to the lady on the phone, 'I'm 110pc sure that he's gone.'

"It was clear he was gone. The sight will never leave my mind. The doctor said it was obvious that he died immediately."

A local doctor pronounced Mr Burke dead at the scene before his body was removed to the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.

His mother said: "He was a great worker and never caused any problems to anyone."

A farmer and part-time roofer, Mr Burke had previously worked in the construction industry.

His eldest son, Damien, is well-known in athletics circles for winning several All-Ireland cross-country medals.

"Edmund travelled the country supporting his son at football and hurling. He was a real star athlete and his father just loved to watch him with pride," said Mrs Burke.

An only child, Mr Burke is survived by his wife, Mary, their two sons and a daughter, Zara (16).

His body will repose in his home from 5pm to 9pm today, and his funeral Mass will take place at midday tomorrow at Cooraclare Church before burial at Kilmacduane cemetery.

Seventeen people have been killed on farms this year compared with a total of 22 for last year.

Irish Independent

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