Wednesday 13 December 2017

Irishman drowned in Chinese machine tragedy

John Walsh: work accident
John Walsh: work accident
The late John Walsh who was killed in a workplace accident in China
The late John Walsh
John Walsh who drowned in a workplace accident
John Walsh, pictured in China
The late John Walsh
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

THE Irishman killed in a workplace accident in China had spoken of how he had "hung his hat" in that country, calling it home.

Father-of-two John Walsh (39) from Cappa, Kilflynn, Co Kerry, was killed in the Huairou district north of Beijing on Monday.

It is believed Mr Walsh drowned when a machine he was operating capsized on a golf course, trapping him in a lake.

Mr Walsh had lived in China since 2009 and worked as the lead shaper with Happy Valley golf club.

He lived with his partner and their daughter Molly (2) in Xianyang. He also had a son from a previous relationship.

It's the second tragedy to hit the Walsh family. A brother, Donal, died 21 years ago.

The Kerryman, who was also known to Chinese friends as "Irish John", was described by friends as "sound", "funny" and very hard-working.

He had gone to China with the intention of staying for a summer but met his partner and settled down to start a family.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it was offering consular assistance to the family.

A former neighbour from Kilflynn described how a "cloud of sadness" had descended on the area. "John was very well-known and it's awful that this family has to go through this again, especially when he's so far away, which makes it even more difficult for them," he said.

He is survived by his partner and daughter in China, son Kieran (11), mother Kitty, brother Tom and sisters Mai, Carmel and Clare.

A close friend, Andrew Bryne, had only been speaking to John last week. He recalled his friend as "the life and soul of any party" who would be sorely missed.

"He was such an outgoing man and full of craic. He was a mighty worker and was so well liked by everyone," Mr Byrne said.

Irish Independent

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