A FATHER of four was crushed to death by a cow after he tried to help free the animal from a drain.
John Sweetman (48) was tending cattle on his land just before 9pm on Monday when tragedy struck.
Mr Sweetman's wife, Eleanor, raised the alarm after she found her husband lying in the drain on his land at Boolabawn, Glynn, Co Wexford.
Emergency services rushed to the scene.
Medics battled to save the farmer's life, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Wexford General Hospital.
Mr Sweetman's body was transferred to Waterford Regional Hospital where a post-mortem examination was conducted.
Family and friends were comforting his wife and their four children, Niamh, Sarah, Ian and Shane, last night.
Mr Sweetman was a well-known farmer in the area who was very active in his community and in the Fine Gael party.
Two separate investigations have been launched by gardai and the Health and Safety Authority.
Wexford Fine Gael TD Liam Twomey said he was devastated at the death of Mr Sweetman, whom he described as a "good friend" and a well-known "party activist".
"John was central to my re-election campaign. He was a key team member.
"I would consider him a good friend as much as a party activist. I really valued his friendship," he said.
"He'll be most remembered for his loyalty and honesty. And first and foremost as a very strong family man -- family always came first."
The dairy farmer was also a good friend of Fine Gael politician Avril Doyle.
Mr Twomey said Mr Sweetman was "very aware" and "conscious" of farm safety -- making the accident all the more tragic.
Mr Sweetman will be removed tomorrow at 7pm from Macken's funeral home for Mass at noon on Friday at his local church in Glynn.