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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.

19 February 2022

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.

Winter weather Feb 18th 2022
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.

“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 8,000 households and businesses remained without supply on Saturday morning, ESB said.

“We have now restored power to 72K customers who lost electricity following damage to the network caused by Storm Eunice,” ESB said on Twitter.

“Our crews are continuing to work to restore power to our remaining 8K customers.”

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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