One-year-old boy dies in farming incident in Co Kilkenny

‘This is an unimaginable tragedy’: Boy named locally as Bill Bennett

Gardaí and the HSA are investigating the incident. Photograph: Frank Miller

Gardaí and the HSA are investigating the incident. Photograph: Frank Miller


Gardaí and the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) are investigating the death of a one-year-old child in a farming incident in Kilkenny on Thursday.

It is believed the male infant sustained fatal injuries after he was struck by a JCB-type vehicle on a family farm in Johnswell just outside Kilkenny City at around 3pm.

Emergency services were called to the scene and the child was later pronounced dead.

He has been named locally as Bill Bennett, who was the fourth child of Elaine and Johnny Bennett.

A spokesman for the HSA confirmed that investigators are currently on site gathering details of what happened.

“This is an unimaginable tragedy,” local priest Fr Frank Purcell said last night, after spending several hours comforting the family. “The whole place is devastated.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Pat Fitzpatrick from nearby Ballyfoyle said the entire community is grieving following the shock news from earlier on Thursday.

“Everyone is just absolutely devastated at the news. It’s hard to imagine the shock and anguish this has caused,” he said. “This is a tight-knit farming community and for a tragedy such as this to occur is just awful.”

Mr Fitzpatrick appealed for space and privacy for the family at a difficult time.

There has already been alarm at the rising number of farm deaths this year, with 12 recorded by the start of June, up from 5 and 6 by the same stage in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

Fatality statistics had been on a downward trend following a spike of 30 deaths in 2014, but there are fears that this year’s total may reach or even surpass that figure on current trends.

The vast majority of farm deaths this year have been associated with vehicles and machinery according to a study completed by Teagasc.