Tributes to "beautiful" boy (14) killed in farming accident
A village has been plunged into mourning after one of its "brightest, kindest and most talented" young residents lost his life in the nation's latest farming tragedy.
Donal English Hayden (14) was tragically killed and his brother Seamus (15) injured on a Rathoe, Co Carlow, farm yesterday after the tractor and trailer they had been travelling in plunged into a river.
The talented young athlete - who was due to return to school next Tuesday after the summer holidays - had been working on the farm of a family friend when the tragedy stuck at 10.30am.
It is understood the brothers were sitting in a trailer which was being pulled by a tractor when it toppled into the water.
"The machinery was travelling along the banks of a river, which runs through the farm, when the bank collapsed," said a source.
"It's believed Donal was trapped under water for up to 10 minutes."
Donal and Seamus were rushed to St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny where, tragically, Donal later died.
Seamus was treated for his injuries.
Last night shocked locals said the farmer who was driving the tractor at the time of the incident is "methodical when it comes to safety".
"This is just so shocking," said neighbour Kathleen Condren, "the farmer involved is an absolute professional.
"He is a stickler for safety. It is just so tragic. You couldn't meet a nicer family, they are loved by all here. My heart goes out to all involved."
Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, a family member of the farmer involved said everyone is "devastated" by the tragedy.
"We can't believe it, we just can't believe it," he said through his tears.
"Such a beautiful young man was taken from us. God works in mysterious ways. It will never leave our family. He went out to lend a hand in the beet field above, God love him," he added.
Last night Donal's parents, Matt and Noleen, were said to be inconsolable. He was the second youngest in a family of seven children.
Local curate Brendan Howard said the family is loved by all in the parish. "They are a highly respected family who are at Mass every Sunday. They are a fantastic family, everybody who knows them loves them.
"They are involved in every kind of sport from GAA, to athletics and rugby and young Donal won a gold medal at the Community Games.
"This is a tragedy that has befallen on our community. We have lost one of our kindest, brightest and most talented young residents," he added.
Donal was a grandson of three-time All-Ireland-winning Wexford hurler Jim English and had a massive passion for sport.
He proudly represented his local club, Ballon/Rathoe, in competitions at local and national level, including the Community Games.