Wednesday 21 February 2018

Tractor in fatal roll to undergo testing by mechanics

Elaine Keogh

Gardai are to carry out a full technical examination of a vintage tractor which overturned, killing a young woman and injuring another at the weekend.

The woman who died was yesterday officially named as Grainne Gilsenan (22), a student from Kilmainhamwood in Co Meath.

The accident occurred at Nobber, Co Meath, during a charity rally in which 71 vintage tractors were travelling in convoy to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society.

"While this was a tragic accident, we will be doing a full mechanical examination of the tractor as part of our investigation," a garda spokesperson said yesterday.

Brake

One of the possibilities being explored is that one of the brakes on the tractor, believed to be a Nuffield from the late 1950s or early 1960s, may have locked, causing it to go out of control.

The tractor had a double brake with a clip and gardai want to explore if one of the brakes may have caused a wheel to lock, causing the vehicle to overturn and trap the woman underneath.

Ms Gilsenan wanted to be a social worker and, according to parish priest Fr John Cooney, had been studying at the Dundalk institute of Technology.

"What happened was just shocking. It was an event organised locally to benefit the oncology unit at St James's Hospital.

"Poor Grainne, her tractor appears to have gone out of control; it has been a shocking experience for all of us," he said.

He said she worked at the weekends at the nearby Kilmainhamwood nursing home and "was a bundle of joy to the old people there as well as to her granny and the rest of her family".

Beautiful

Fr Cooney added that the young woman was "beautiful, bubbly and full of energy," and had unfortunately lost a cousin, Dean Gilsenan, in a road traffic accident a few years ago.

"She had been a little light for all of us and she loved doing something for others," he said.

A garda involved in the investigation last night said it had all the hallmarks of a "freak accident that could happen to anyone".

A post-mortem examination of Ms Gilsenan's remains is expected to take place today at Our Lady's Hospital in Navan.

A second woman in her twenties, who was a passenger on the tractor at the time of the accident, was not seriously injured.

Because the tractor was a vintage vehicle, it was exempt from the laws requiring tractors to have a roll cage to protect the driver in the event of it overturning.

Irish Independent

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