Tuesday 26 March 2019

Tributes paid to 'gentle giant' Mick who died in freak car accident

The scene of the fatal accident on the N30 at Ballymackessy between Clonroche and Enniscorthy last Friday which claimed the life of Mick Kehoe
The scene of the fatal accident on the N30 at Ballymackessy between Clonroche and Enniscorthy last Friday which claimed the life of Mick Kehoe
The late Mick Kehoe

David Looby

A Gusserane man who was killed in a freak accident near Clonroche on Friday was laid to rest yesterday (Monday) amid heartbreaking scenes.

Michael (Mick) Kehoe, 56, of Ballygarvan, was killed when he swerved to avoid fallen branches and a truck at Ballymackessy, only to strike the rear of the vehicle.

Mick, who was the only occupant of the van, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the truck was uninjured in the collision.

The N30 between Beechdale Garden Centre and Clonroche was closed for a number of hours on Friday as gardai carried out forensic examinations.

Mick is survived by his wife Paula; children Joe and Áine; and brothers and sisters: Johnny, Fran, Marie, Stella, Lucy, Jacinta and Seamus.

The son of Johnny and Annie Kehoe, Mick was well-known across the country in racing circles.

Having attended Gusserane NS and Shielbaggan and Ramsgrange schools, Mick pursued his love of all things cars into a job as a mechanic.

He met Paula, from Taghmon and the couple were married in August 1985.

Mick loved his rally cars from his first rally car, a Fiat Ritmo, to his blue Peugeot 306. He also loved autocross and competed at rallies throughout the country.

He passed on his love of cars to his children and family holidays invariably revolved around travelling to rallies across the country and abroad.

Áine has gone on to become a competitive rally driver and Mick was always full of pride with his children's achievements.

Mick worked for Breen's on the Waterford road. He then worked for High Precision Motor Parts (HPMP) for many years, fitting cameras to fire engines.

His brother-in-law Murt described Mick as an absolute gentleman. 'He was a very unassuming man and one of nature's gentlemen. He was very outgoing and had lots and lots of friends which was borne out by the numbers who attended his wake.'

A great man to tell a story, Mick made everyone feel at ease in his company. He enjoyed social occasions and was always looking forward to the next family birthday or wedding. A hard working man and great provider to his family, Mick was working in Sligo last week and put in extra hours to get home quicker.

He made it home on Thursday and was on his way to work in Tullow, Co Carlow, early the following morning when the accident occurred.

'They were finishing a project and he worked very late doing overtime the previous couple of days to get home to his family. That was the type of outstanding family man he was. His family are devastated beyond words.

'The closeness of the family was remarkable. Everything he did was in conjunction with his family. Everyone is just shattered. He's gone in the blink of an eye.'

Gusserane PP Fr Sean Laffan said the community is in total shock following Mick's death.

'Everyone is totally wrecked. The Kehoe family are very well-known in the area. His children work in New Ross. Things like this does affect a community. People react in different ways and people are rallying around the family on both sides.'

Mick's friends from across the Irish rally community from his club and from across the country stood as guards of honour at his funeral Mass at St John the Baptist Church, Gusserane, on a bright spring morning yesterday.

A huge crowd attended Mick's funeral Mass, with some friends travelling hundreds of miles to be in attendance. Mick was laid to rest afterwards in the adjoining cemetery.

He is forever missed by his loving wife Paula; son Joe, daughter Áine, brothers Johnny, Fran and Seamus, sisters Marie, Stella, Lucy and Jacinta, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, extended family and friends.

New Ross Standard