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Tributes paid to council worker killed by falling tree

Billy Kinsella, 59, died while clearing debris from a road in Co Wexford during Storm Eunice.

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Stormy seas at Doolin, Co Clare (PA)

Stormy seas at Doolin, Co Clare (PA)

Stormy seas at Doolin, Co Clare (PA)

An Irish council worker who died after being hit by a falling tree has been named locally as Billy Kinsella.

The father-of-one was clearing debris from a road close to his home in Co Wexford when he was hit as a tree came down during Storm Eunice.

Tributes have been paid to the 59-year-old, from Clonroe in Gorey.

Mr Kinsella, an employee of Wexford County Council, had been attending the scene of another fallen tree in Ballythomas when he was fatally injured.

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Stormy seas in Lahinch, Co Clare (Eamon Ward/PA)

Stormy seas in Lahinch, Co Clare (Eamon Ward/PA)

PA

Stormy seas in Lahinch, Co Clare (Eamon Ward/PA)

Sinn Fein councillor Fionntan O Suilleabhain, who lives close to Mr Kinsella and grew up with his family, was among those to pay tribute.

“People in the area are devastated. It is such a tragedy for his wife Rita and their only child Conor.

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“Billy died in the line of duty while out doing council work and attending the scene of a fallen tree. He died round the corner from where we both live and he died in a manner that makes it most tragic.

“He comes from a well-respected family and a very hard-working family. He was a quiet family man who was devoted to his son, who he brought to sporting events all over.

“Conor plays for the under-20s Wexford team and would be heavily involved in GAA, like Billy’s father was before him.

“People are very shocked.”

Fianna Fail councillor Donal Kenny said: “I knew Billy quite well. He was a nice easy-going fella and was one of those lads who got on with his day’s work.

“He was out doing his job to keep the roads clear.

“It is very difficult for his family.”

Meanwhile, ESB repair crews worked through the night to restore power to more than 70,000 users after their electricity was cut during Storm Eunice.

Around 7,000 households and businesses remained without supply on Saturday afternoon, ESB said.

“ESB Networks crews have been working since first light to restore power to all homes, farms and businesses in the wake of Storm Eunice,” ESB said in a statement.

“As at 1.15pm, 73,000 customers have had their power restored since the onset of the storm yesterday, with 7,000 customers remaining without supply.

“ESB Networks worked late into the night yesterday doing everything it can to restore power to all remaining customers.

“ESB Networks also moved crews from less impacted areas of the country yesterday to assist colleagues in the most severely impacted areas to reconnect customers as fast as they safely can.

“Due to the severity of the damage to the electricity network in the Southwest region, some customers in South Kerry and West Cork will again be without power overnight and we apologise for the particular difficulty this causes.”

A yellow weather warning for ice remains in place across the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Met Eireann has said unsettled weather will continue over the weekend in the wake of Storm Eunice.

A status yellow rain warning is in place for Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo until 4pm on Sunday.


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