TRIBUTES have been paid to a “highly respected” farmer and publican who lost his life in a workplace accident.
John Ahern, 67, from Ballymackeogh, Newport died after he became trapped under the hood of a truck which collapsed on top of him on Wednesday night.
“He was a hard-working farming, contractor and publican who was well-known throughout the area and was a highly respected family man. He was a quiet, friendly man,” said Martin Ryan, a local journalist in the Newport area.
It is understood that he had gone to start a vintage lorry in a workshop which is located at the rear of the family pub, Aherns, which lies just yards from the Tipperary/Limerick border.
“Himself and his wife Theresa ran the pub. He was also continuing farming - a long tradition of the family in the area. The garage was for their own machinery maintenance. They would have a top-class silage harvesting operation and they would maintain all their own machinery which would be kept in impeccable order,” said Mr Ryan.
“He was an expert on maintenance and machinery - they do their own servicing there in the garage,” continued Mr Ryan who said the local community was shocked and saddened by Mr Ahern’s untimely passing.
“They would have quite a lot of relations throughout the area. His late father Martin threshed the corn on all the farms locally over the years going back to the 1950s and 1960s until combine harvesters came in. They had their own threshing mill which was restored, and normally there would be a harvest festival there at the pub at this time of year and they would bring out the old threshing mill and they would be corn threshing,” said Mr Ryan.
Paying tribute to John, his son Michael said his father died doing what he “loved” best, “working with machinery”.
Paramedics attended the scene of the tragic incident at Ballymackeogh at around 9.50pm but Mr Ahern was pronounced dead at the scene.
“We are treating it as a tragic accident,” said Inspector Oliver Henry of Nenagh garda station.
Three units of Limerick Fire and Rescue Service also attended the incident, and were at the scene for around two hours.
A post mortem is to be carried out at University Hospital Limerick.
Gardaí at Newport and Nenagh are investigating and the Health and Safety Authority has been notified