Belfast Telegraph

Quad buggy death on Northern Ireland farm - O'Neill family left 'traumatised'

By Cate McCurry

The son of a Co Tyrone pensioner who was killed in a farming accident at his home said the family are deeply "traumatised" by the incident.

Peter O'Neill was involved in the accident while working on an off-road buggy vehicle, often used on farms.

The 75-year-old, who was a beef farmer, used the quad everyday to get around his family farm in Carrickmore.

His son Aidan, who works at Campsie Veterinary Centre in Omagh, issued a safety warning to other farmers, saying they are not "invulnerable" when carrying out their job.

He also said the family have been "overwhelmed" by the support from the community following his sudden death.

"It was horrifically traumatic - things are quite upsetting for the family," he said.

"He had the Kubota utility vehicle for the past few years and it was his pride and joy. He would drive around the farm and to various out-farms every day. It made a very distinctive noise, so you would hear him before you saw him.

"He could be spotted going up and down the road three or four times a day on it. It suited him down to the ground. It wasn't fast, but gave him plenty of opportunity to get about," he said.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was called to the farm on Wednesday last week, however, the emergency services were unable to save him.

In an interview with the Tyrone Constitution, Mr O'Neill said his late father has been in "excellent health" and the family expected him to continue working for years.

He added: "We tried to get him to slow down a little and keep fewer cattle, as we were a bit worried he might be injured by an animal at some stage, but he refused to accept he needed to take things a little easier."

He said that this reflected his father's generation of farmers, who often didn't realise old age was slowing them down.

"He, and others, believe they could keep going on forever and nothing was going to happen to them," he said.

Mr O'Neill described how his family have been touched by the support they have received in recent days.

"Because of his occupation, and my occupation, huge numbers of the farming community came out.

"And when you talked to them it was striking how so many knew exactly how you felt, because they had been in similar situations themselves," he added.

"Car loads landed almost immediately when the news got out and they couldn't have done enough.

"There was more than one person offering to do anything we needed or wanted, from both sides of the community.

"They understood what it meant and how it felt.

"They just wanted to come and show their support and respect," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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