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Thursday 14 November 2019

Entrepreneur (54) dies suddenly after taking part in endurance race

JP Duffy founded telecoms firm Westel Utilities in 2000
JP Duffy founded telecoms firm Westel Utilities in 2000

Tom Shiel

A 54-year-old successful entrepreneur and champion of industrial development in the west of Ireland has died suddenly after participating in a gruelling endurance race in Co Mayo.

James Paul 'JP' Duffy, from Bunnacranagh, Curry, Co Sligo, became ill on the latter stages of the Westport Sea 2 Summit challenge on Saturday.

The event, in its 10th year, involves cycling, running and climbing and descending 764-metre (2,510ft) Croagh Patrick.

Mr Duffy, who was married with a family, was attended to by medics at the scene in Westport but died despite efforts to save him.

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Along with his wife, Yvonne, Mr Duffy founded Westel Utilities, which is based in Curry, 19 years ago.

The firm, which has a large workforce, specialises in the installation of telecoms networks.

Gerry Murray, a Charlestown-based member of Mayo County Council, said the death of Mr Duffy was a huge loss to the western region. Mr Murray noted Mr Duffy's great passion for telecommunications and said that he was always at the cutting edge when it came to new technology.

"JP was passionate about rural Ireland," said Mr Murray.

"One of his greatest desires was to ensure rural Ireland would have the same access to broadband technology as its urban counterparts."

A post-mortem examination was due to be carried out at Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar.

Mr Duffy is survived by his wife Yvonne, and his children Aoife, Patrick and Eanna, and siblings Christy, Caroline, Eddie and Pearl.

His funeral Mass will take place tomorrow at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Curry, at noon with burial afterwards in Bunnacrannagh Cemetery.

Mr Duffy and his wife established Westel Utilities in 2000 as a contractor in the utilities, engineering and construction sector.

The company has carried out work on major projects around the country, including taking part in the construction of the Luas.

Irish Independent

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