Father-of-five crushed in latest farming accident

A father-of-five has died following a farm accident in Co Clare, the second in the county in a fortnight.

Gerry O’Connell, 57, was found dead under his tractor near a shed adjacent to the church and graveyard at Ballyea, shortly before 10pm on Wednesday.

It is understood Mr O’Connell was last seen alive at around 7pm when he left his home to move cattle from his uncle’s land to sloblands close to the Shannon Estuary.

It is believed he had been moving cattle from a shed into a trailer when he was crushed by a tractor just 700 metres from his home.

One local said: “This is a terrible tragedy and the family is devastated. One of the girls (daughter) had been up around 9pm when there was no sign of him coming home. She saw the tractor at the shed and it was still running and there was no suggestion there was anything wrong.”

It’s understood that family members returned to check on Mr O’Connell a short time later and he was discovered beneath the tractor.

The emergency services and gardaí responded to the incident. Mr O’Connell was, however, pronounced dead at the scene.

The area was sealed off and a preliminary examination was undertaken before Mr O’Connell’s body was removed to University Hospital Limerick for an autopsy.

An inspector from the Health and Safety Authority and a garda forensic expert examined the vehicle and the area where the tragedy occurred yesterday.

Mr O’Connell is survived by his wife, Frances, sons Gearóid, David and Paddy, and daughters, Louise and Emma.

Mr O’Connell’s son Gearóid is a member of the Clare U21 hurling side that will play in the All-Ireland final next week.

The tragedy is the second to take place on a farm in Clare in a fortnight.

On August 20, TJ McDonagh died while he was fitting a wheel to a vehicle near his home in Liscannor.

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