Farmer dies while rescuing calf from hay bales
A FARMER suffered a suspected heart attack after attempting to rescue a calf which got trapped between two bales of hay in an outhouse on his farm.
Liam Ryan (51) from Muckalee, Co Kilkenny, died on Wednesday evening as he reached down to grab the legs of the calf which had fallen between the bales.
He lay undiscovered until 10.30am the next day when a neighbour found his body slumped in the outhouse.
Gardai carried out a technical examination at the scene and his remains were brought to Waterford Regional Hospital where a post mortem was carried out yesterday.
Born and raised on the family farm in Muckalee, Mr Ryan regularly visited the local Kilkenny Co-Op Livestock Market in Killin Hill to meet up with friends and sell livestock.
"All the family are very much part of the community and they're absolutely devastated. He was very much part of the farming community around here and part and parcel of everything going on around the place," said local parish priest Fr Larry Wallace.
Mr Ryan, who had never married and who lived alone on the family farm for many years, was described by locals yesterday as a "happy-go-lucky" man with a "pleasant manner".
"He was rescuing a very young calf which had fallen in between two very large bales of hay. It was as he was trying to pull the animal out that he got into trouble and there was no one there to help him. Nothing fell on top of him so we believe it may have been a heart attack or suffocation; we'll just have to wait for the post mortem results," said one neighbour.
He is survived by his brother, John, and sister, Majella.
Farming remains one of the most dangerous occupations in Ireland, with 22 farm-related deaths and 6,673 reported non-fatal injuries last year.
The main causes of death and injury are safety issues relating to farm machinery, in particular tractors, as well as risks taken with livestock.
Elderly farmers and young children remain the most high-risk groups, while the majority of accidents occur in the vicinity of the farmyard.