Friday 28 October 2016

Publican who 'loved machinery' is killed by falling lorry cabin

Ahern pub, on the Newport to Limerick Road
Ahern pub, on the Newport to Limerick Road
The late John Ahern (67) who died tragically in an accident at home near Newport, Co. Tipperary

A well-known publican and farmer who had a passion for old machinery has died in an accident while starting a vintage lorry.

Paying tribute to John Ahern (67), his son, Michael, said he died at their home in Tipperary doing what he loved best.

The father-of-four, from Ballymackeogh, Newport, was found wedged between the hood of the cab at his work shed behind the family home.

Mr Ahern (32) said his father had gone to start up the lorry when the cab, which had been held up over him, collapsed.


"He was starting it up - it was something he had done a thousand times," he said.

"The cab was lifted up because that's how you start the vintage trucks, and that fell down on him.

"I think something failed. I'm almost sure what it was that failed, but I can't really say at this point because there is an investigation."

Mr Ahern said his father, who ran Ahern's bar on the Newport to Limerick road and also worked as a farmer, was an "easy-going" man who "you could never panic".

The pub is familiar to people commuting on the road to Limerick city.

"He was always so cool and easy going," said Mr Ahern. "He loved machinery and he loved vintage machines especially.

"He was very active and very 'with it' and he was a very good operator of machinery.

"The pub was always in our family, but my father was a dairy farmer as well. He had been an agricultural contractor for the past 25 years."

Mr Ahern's uncle, Martin Ahern, said: "John was very, very careful and exact and very safety-conscious."

Gardai and other emergency services arrived at Mr Ahern's home at around 9.50pm on Wednesday, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Nenagh and Newport gardai are investigating, but have described the incident as a tragic accident.

A post mortem was being carried out yesterday at University Hospital Limerick.

A local source said: "The family are all very much involved in the local GAA scene.

"The pub is well-known for hosting dances on Sunday nights."

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) said an inspector had visited the scene but no investigation was warranted on its part.

"He was not involved in work for payment which is where we would come in," the spokesman said.

"We were told he was partaking in his hobby when he passed away, so unless new information was to come to light, we are not investigating."

Mr Ahern is survived by his wife Theresa, sons Michael and John Christopher and daughters Aishling and Deirdre.

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