Toddler dies after head injury while feeding hens

Prayers were offered at masses around West Cork yesterday for toddler Ben O’Regan, who died after a gate hit him on the head as he was feeding hens.

The accident occurred before 2pm on Saturday while Ben was at his grandmother’s house, just a short distance from the family’s equestrian centre on the outskirts of Schull.

Ben was airlifted from a landing site in Toormore to Cork University University shortly before 3pm but died shortly after arrival.

Ben was due to celebrate his second birthday next month. His parents Debbie and Roy are being comforted by family, friends, and neighbours.

A local described the O’Regans as a wonderful couple. “They are lovely. They have a great love for horses and run their business very well. People are absolutely heartbroken for them,” he said.

The death will be investigated by the Health and Safety Authority as is a matter of course in such cases. Gardaí are treating it as a tragic accident.

Last year was one of the worst years on record for farming fatalities. Some 30 people lost their lives on farms, up nearly 90% on 2013 figures. Five of the deaths involved children.

Cork has been particularly badly impacted by farm fatalities involving children in the last 12 months.

In September Paula Dinsberga, 8, died when she was hit by the front loader of a tractor at a farm in Newtownshandrum.

A month earlier Fionn Mulhall, 3, was killed after being struck by a digger at the family farm in Drimoleague.

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