TRIBUTES have been paid to a father of 10 who died in a workplace accident yesterday.
East Clare builder and farmer Pat O’Connor died as a result of crush injuries he received while carrying out maintenance work on a mini digger at his home near Feakle, Co Clare.
The 71-year-old was discovered by a relative in the early hours of Tuesday morning after he failed to return home from carrying out repairs.
He was a well-known figure in the building industry in Co Clare, and through his construction firm, built the Sean Dun housing estate in Ennis.
Inspector David Finnerty of Killaloe Garda Station said that Gardai are treating the fatality as a “tragic accident”.
Member of Clare County Council, Pat Hayes, lives close to where Mr O’Connor lived and said the community was ‘numbed’ by the tragedy.
Cllr Hayes said: “The local community will do its best for the family. It is a real tragedy for the family. Pat had a number of teenage children and they are now without their Dad.
“He was very involved in the local community and enjoyed going to his hurling matches.
“He was a very likeable character.”
Mr O’Connor’s death brings the number of people who have lost their lives in workplace accidents this year to 17, with agriculture accounting for six of those fatalities.
According to the Health Safety Authority's Fatal Workplace Injuries statistics list, a total of 47 people died from workplace-related accidents last year, 24 of which were within agriculture.