*A guilty plea was made at Ennis Circuit Court. 

A WEST Clare man has pleaded guilty to a health and safety breach concerning a fatal farm accident which claimed the life of a farmer two years ago.

At Ennis Circuit Court, farmer, John Roche (47) of Doonaha, Kilkee has pleaded guilty to a single health and safety offence relating to a workplace accident that claimed the life of Damien Carmody at Doonaha, Kilkee on January 22nd 2021.

Mr Carmody had only got married to wife, Elaine 12 months prior to the fatal incident.

In the case, Mr Roche has pleaded to failing to appoint a competent project design supervisor for the design process for construction work carried out at an excavation at Doonaha, Kilkee on January 22nd 2021 as required by Health and Safety construction regulations.

Already, Christopher Keane (48) of Bella, Kilkee pleaded guilty to the two health and safety breaches connected to the death of Mr Carmody.

In the case, Mr Keane trading as Christopher Keane Plant-Hire pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that in the course of work, individuals were not exposed to risk to their safety, health and welfare at Doonaha, Kilkee on January 22nd 2021.

Mr Keane pleaded guilty to that in particular, an excavation at the site was unsafe and that no adequate measures were taken by him to prevent the collapse of the sides of the excavation on persons working in the excavation and as a consequence, Damien Carmody suffered fatal injuries.

Mr Keane pleaded guilty to a separate health and safety breach where he failed to ensure that adequate precautions were taken at the excavation site to guard against dangers to persons at work from a fall or a dislodgement of earth and as a consequence, Mr Carmody suffered fatal injuries.

In relation to Mr Roche’s plea of guilt, Judge Francis Comerford noted that unlike Mr Keane’s two guilty pleas, Mr Roche’s count concerning his plea of guilt did not mention Mr Carmody.

However, Judge Comerford said he would formally direct a victim impact statement relating to Mr Carmody arising from Mr Roche’s guilty plea.

Outlining the State case at the district court last year, State Solicitor for Clare, Aisling Casey said the case involves a fatal incident which related to an excavation being dug at a farm premises at Doonaha, Kilkee.

Ms Casey stated that it will be alleged that John Roche was the person in control of the farm and he decided to construct an underground concrete slated tank at the farm premises for the purpose of slurry storage.

She stated that Mr Roche engaged the services of a contractor, Christopher Keane to build the tank.

Ms Casey further alleged that on January 22nd 2021 at around 12 noon, farmer and neighbour, Damien Carmody “died as a result of injuries sustained when a pre-existing wall within the excavation which had been dug to accommodate the slurry tank collapsed on top of him”.

Ms Casey stated that “at the time of the incident, Mr Carmody was assisting Mr Keane’s employees who were engaged in pouring concrete within the excavation which was intended to form the floor of the tank”.

After the facts were outlined in the district court, In April, Judge Mary Larkin described the circumstances in which Mr Carmody lost his life in a farm accident as ‘horrific’.

Judge Larkin commented, “These are all horrific circumstances. This was a man who was his neighbour and his friend”.

Ms Casey said that Mr Carmody was “a neighbour and good friend” of Mr Roche.

At the district court, solicitor for Mr Roche, Daragh Hassett told the court that his client wants to put on the record to express his condolences to the family of Damien Carmody.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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