Champion ploughman dies in farm accident

A top ploughman died in a farm accident in Wexford yesterday as some of his family were at the National Ploughing Championships in Offaly.

Ploughing champions Willie John Kehoe, Martin Kehoe Sr, and Martin Kehoe Jr.

The death of Martin Kehoe Jr, while working on a molasses, or slurry, tank in Foulksmills, shocked the National Ploughing Association (NPA).

Mr Kehoe Jr, who won the national under-28 conventional ploughing title in 2006, was a member of one of the country’s premier ploughing families, who ran a successful farm business and agricultural contracting business.

He was the youngest son of Martin Kehoe Sr, who represented Ireland 12 times in the world contest, winning it three times, along with 12 successive national titles and winning international tug-o-war awards.

Willie John Kehoe, another son and also a champion ploughman, who was with his father at Screggan, represented his country three times in the World Contest.

Three sisters, Christine, Michelle, and Eleanor, have all won the Queen of the Plough title at the national event.

News of the accident was broken to them on site and they rushed home where friends and neighbours were also in shock.

Anna May McHugh, NPA managing director, extended the association’s sympathy to the Kehoe family, especially the dead man’s wife, Kerrie, and their three children, the youngest only five months old.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened,” said Ms McHugh. “The Kehoe family is synonymous with the ploughing championships.

“They have made an enormous contribution to the ploughing. Everyone is devastated at the news.”

Irish Farmers’ Association president Joe Healy said there was a deep shock when news of the accident came through from Wexford. He extended his sympathies to the family.

Teagasc director Gerry Boyle expressed his sympathy with the Kehoe family.

“It does underline again how dangerous an activity farming is. It’s becoming an increasingly dangerous activity and we have to be always vigilant,” he told RTÉ News.

The Health and Safety Authority is investigating the accident.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident just a few miles away in Ballycullane, a man in his 80s was airlifted to hospital after an accident at his house near Ballycullane.

He is believed to be in a critical condition.

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