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Community left reeling after popular Co Armagh farmer killed in accident


Farm tragedy: Mickey Larkin

Farm tragedy: Mickey Larkin

Farm tragedy: Mickey Larkin

Health and safety officials are investigating after a pensioner died in a farming accident in Co Armagh.

Matt McCoy was in his 70s and had reportedly been attending the birth of a calf on his farm on the Newry Road in Mullaghbawn when the tragedy occurred on Wednesday.

He had stayed overnight with the calving mother on Tuesday evening through to Wednesday.

His death is not being treated as suspicious but the Health and Safety Executive NI (HSENI) is continuing an investigation into the circumstances.

Family priest Fr John Heagney said Mr McCoy's relations have been left devastated.

"The family are incredibly shocked and saddened," he said.

"He was a good family man and neighbour."

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Mr McCoy lived on the farm with his wife.

Fr Heagney added: "The whole neighbourhood is shocked.

"Matt was very well-known as a farmer in the community here and very well liked. His wife is incredibly sad."

Sinn Fein councillor and family friend Mickey Larkin said the "tight-knit" community of Mullaghbawn was stunned.

He described the deceased as a "likeable character" and "a good person".

"He's lived here all of his life," Mr Larkin added.

"As with all farming communities, everyone helps each other out.

"The community is in shock and it's a terrible tragedy to befall any family.

"The community feels for them and they're already rallying around them.

"Any death on a farm is one too many, but statistics tell us that farming is one of the most dangerous professions you can do."

President of the Ulster Farmers' Union Barclay Bell said the death was a stark illustration of the perils of farming.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very difficult time," he said.

"It is a tragic reminder that farms are busy workplaces and can sometimes be dangerous.

"The HSENI is investigating the circumstances of the incident, but it is a sad reminder that you can never be too careful on a farm."

A rapid response vehicle paramedic and an emergency ambulance crew were dispatched to the incident.

The air ambulance was also scrambled, but was stood down en route.

No funeral details have been released at present as Mr McCoy's family await his body being released.

He is survived by his wife, daughter and grandchildren.

According to the HSENI's latest annual report 2016-17, six people died from farm-related incidents here.

The same number of fatalities were recorded on farms here in 2015/16.

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