The communities of Kilmore, Bridgetown and beyond were rocked by the news that a south Wexford builder fell to his death while working on the chimney of a house on last Friday afternoon.
Father of five Michael Bates, of Tullabards, Bridgetown, died as the result of the fall while working on the painting of a chimney on a house in Ballycogley.
The 59-year-old man is a well-known building contractor in the Wexford area, having lived in the parish of Kilmore, where he is highly regarded while the family name is steeped in the parish.
Described as a hard worker and family man, he was married to Frances (nee Fallon) from neighbouring, Cousinstown, Bridgetown. Mr. Bates and his family lived in the Tullabards townland which is only a short distance from their respective family homes.
Michael had been completing the painting of the chimney, when a short time later he was found on the ground.
The emergency services were immediately called to the scene but he was pronounced dead a short time later having suffered from severe head injuries.
News of his death sent shock waves through the parish of Kilmore and Forth and Bargy region where he was well known having come from a family steeped in the parish. His wife and family were said to be 'devastated' by the tragic accident resulting in the loss of a husband and father.
Gardai from Kilmore Quay as well as the Health and Safety Authority are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident but it's not yet known as to how Michael fell to his death.
He was removed from the scene by ambulance to Wexford General Hospital and later to Waterford Regional Hospital where a post mortem examination was carried out.
A very popular member of the community, his family have been left in total shock by what happened and are been consoled by immediate family members along with neighbours and friends as they try to come to terms with the terrible tragedy which has seen Michael taken from their lives so suddenly.
Neighbours have described Michael's death as an 'awful tragedy' which has the entire area in shock.
Another neighbour said: 'He was a very popular member of the community as was his entire family and extended family. We are just devastated by what happened as is the entire community,' he said.
One of Michael's sons, Micheál, is in New Zealand, and returned home on Sunday while a second son, Declan, is a well-known jockey. He is also survived by another son, Thomas, and two daughters, Alisha and Alison
Sympathies were extended to the family by the large crowds that attended the home over the past two days, where the body reposed, to pay their respects. The remains are to be removed to St. Mary's Parish Church in Kilmore this morning (Tuesday), followed by burial at St Mary's cemetery.