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Boy (3) crushed by JCB while tot (2) killed by van

TWO toddlers have died in separate horror accidents in the space of 24 hours.

In Cork, Fionn Mulhall (3), died after being crushed by a JCB.

And in Tipperary Thomas Ryan (2) was run over by a van.

Little Fionn Mulhall died from crush injuries after apparently getting trapped beside a JCB in a farmyard at Drimoleague, Co Cork, shortly before noon yesterday.

The operator of the machine was apparently unaware the little boy had approached the JCB to watch it working.

Immediately after he realised what had happened, the operator raised the alarm.

He was later treated at the scene for shock.

Paramedics rushed the stricken boy to Bantry General Hospital but, despite desperate efforts by doctors to stabilise his condition, he was pronounced dead.

Gardai said they are treating the matter as "a tragic accident".

His distraught parents Greg and Imelda Mulhall are being comforted by relatives and friends.

The couple have three older sons, John, Greg and Luke, ranging in age from five to 11 years.

Funeral arrangements for Fionn will be announced later today.

In accordance with protocols, a Health & Safety Authority review will be carried out.

The area where the freak accident occurred was sealed off pending an examination by safety inspectors.

Locals described the incident as "absolutely heartbreaking".

In the Tipperary incident the parents of Thomas Ryan thought the little boy was safe asleep in bed when the accident happened.

His mother Pam thought he was safely asleep but the toddler left the house and walked into the yard where he was run over by a van.

His father Rocky had been talking to the driver and passenger in the van at the halting site a short distance from the centre of Tipperary town.

He had no idea Thomas had come out to the yard and the little boy was hit as the van moved off.

Emergency services rushed to the scene and administered CPR but could not save the little boy, who was pronounced dead at South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel.

Thomas was the couple's only son.

The family is well known in both the settled and Traveller communities of South Tipperary.

ANGEL

Thomas's grandmother Ellen O'Reilly is chairperson of the Tipperary Traveller's Project and his other grandmother, Philomena Ryan, is a community health care worker.

A shocked Project Coordinator Margaret Casey told the Herald she had been visiting the halting site off the Rosanna Road about an hour before the tragedy on Thursday night.

She described Thomas as "a lovely little angel. He was so cute and chatty and he was by his dad's side 24/7. The family went everywhere together.

"Our hearts go out to the family. The parents are absolutely devastated. Thomas was their baby. He was called after Pam's brother who died young a couple of years ago."

hnews@herald.ie


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