A well-known Tipperary publican and farmer who had a passion for vintage machinery died on Wednesday evening while starting a vintage lorry, one of his four devastated children said.
Paying tribute to John Ahern, 67, his son Michael said his father died doing what he “loved” best, “working with machinery”.
Mr Ahern, a father of four from Ballymackeogh, Newport, was found by his son Michael and his wife Theresa, beneath the hood of the lorry’s cab, at Mr Ahern’s work shed, which is located at the rear of the family home.
Michael Ahern, 32, said his father had gone to start up the vintage lorry, when the cab, which had been held up over him, collapsed and killed him.
“He was starting it up, it was something he had done a thousand times. The cab was lifted up because that’s how you start the vintage trucks, and that fell down on him,” Michael Ahern said, speaking at the family home.
“I think something failed. I’m almost sure what it was that failed, but I can’t really say at this point because there is an investigation.”
Michael Ahern said his father, who ran Ahern’s bar on the Newport to Limerick road, was “an easy-going” man who “you could never panic”.
“He was always so cool and easy-going. He loved machinery and he loved vintage machines especially,” he said. “He was very active and very ‘with it’, and he was a very good operator of machinery.”
The lorry was still at the family home today locked up in the work shed at the rear of the pub.
“The pub was always in our family but my father was a dairy farmer as well. He had been an agricultural contractor for the past 25 years,” Michael added.
Paying tribute, Martin Ahern, a brother of the deceased, said: “John was a publican, agricultural contractor and a farmer. He was very, very careful and exact and very safety conscious.”
Gardaí and other emergency services responded to Mr Ahern’s home at around 9.50pm on Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gardaí at Nenagh and Newport are investigating the incident, but have described it as an accident.
A postmortem was due to be carried out at at University Hospital Limerick yesterday.
A local source said: “His family are all very much involved in the local GAA scene. He would have farmland in Ballymackeogh and he was an agricultural contractor. Ahern’s Pub is well known for hosting dances on Sunday nights.”
Mr Ahern is also survived by his son John Christopher, and daughters Aishling and Deirdre.
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