Man, 26, dies in workplace accident in West Cork

People in the Clonakilty area of West Cork were plunged into mourning yesterday following the death of a worker at the Clona Dairies plant in the town.

Man, 26, dies in workplace accident in West Cork

The incident occurred shortly after 10am, claiming the life of Fearghal Beamish from the nearby Pike/ Ardfield area.

It is understood that the 26-year-old suffered serious injuries when he got caught between a vehicle known as a shunter, and a trailer. It is understood he was operating the vehicle at the time.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) confirmed it was investigating the circumstances of the incident. HSA inspectors had arrived at the scene by lunchtime yesterday, while gardaí are assisting the coroner.

Clona Dairies closed operations at the town centre facility for the day following the incident. A spokesperson for the company said: “We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the family.”

Mr Beamish was a keen rally car enthusiast and had competed in the West Cork Rally.

He was also an active sportsman, involved in football and cycling, and was a fan of Munster rugby. He had been working full-time at Clona and was a qualified mechanical engineer.

Liam Evans, the secretary of St James’ GAA Club in Ardfield, said everyone in the surrounding Ardfield/Rathbarry parish was “gutted” at the tragic news.

“He was a sub last Sunday night in a Junior A Football Championship match against Castlehaven,” he said of Fearghal.

“He was with the club all his life. He normally played corner-back. There were six lads on the panel the other night, all from the same class in school.”

Fearghal had attended Clonakilty Community College but had forged strong links through sport.

According to Mr Evans: “GAA, bowling, and rallying would have been the three main sports. He was quite a good bowler, I’m told.”

The GAA club was due to hold a meeting last night to pass a vote of sympathy and to plan its own commemorations. In advance of the meeting, every player at St James’ was due to meet at the club house in Ardfield. “A lot of them are very upset,” Mr Evans said.

Pat McCarthy, PRO of Bol Chumann, said Fearghal was a strong competitor at Junior B and Junior C level in road bowling and had attended the All Ireland Championship Finals held in nearby Lyre just last weekend.

“He was a very good junior graded player,” said Mr McCarthy. “He had won a few championships. He was a very popular, and a very sporting competitor in that division.”

Mr Beamish was pronounced dead at the scene and the area where the incident occurred at Clona Dairies was sealed off for a time by gardaí as HSA inspectors carried out an examination.

Mr Beamish’s body was transferred to the morgue at Cork University Hospital.

Just last month, the HSA published its annual report which showed that there were some 56 fatal workplace accidents reported in 2014, compared to 47 the previous year. There was also an increase in the number of non-fatal injuries reported last year, some 7,431, compared to 6,598 in 2013 and Ged Nash, the minister for business and employment, said the overall rise in the number of work-related fatalities was a concern.

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