Glengoole and Ballingarry are both coming to terms with two tragedies which occurred over the weekend, within a 10-mile radius.
The deaths of Tom O’Dwyer and Michael Stapleton have stunned local close knit communities. The two men were familiar and popular faces in the locality.
Cllr Imelda Goldsboro knows both families and expressed her sympathies to them. “When news came out on Friday in Ballingarry, there was complete shock. Anyone who knew Tom O’Dwyer knew he was a complete gentleman, and very well respected. He was a great neighbour. And my sympathies to his wife Joanne, his daughter Emma, and his father Bill. He died doing what he loved. He was with horses all his life, and Emma followed in his footsteps. So to think that someone was taken at 56 years of age, so tragically, it’s very hard to comprehend.” Mr O'Dwyer (56) died after he was kicked in the head by a horse at 12pm yesterday while out walking with his daughter.
The freak accident occurred in Ballintaggart on the Tipperary/Kilkenny border while Mr O'Dwyer was out walking with his daughter, a renowned show jumper, and their horse. Emergency services attended to Mr O'Dwyer but he was pronounced dead at the scene. There has been an outpouring of grief in Tipperary, Kilkenny and the horse training community since news broke yesterday of the tragic accident.
The news of Michael Stapleton’s death, on Sunday evening, brings a sense of shock and casts a dark cloud over this rural area. “It’s two families that are left without their loved ones, and it’s hard to comprehend,” said Cllr Goldsboro, who commended the Emergency Services in both incidents.
As of 11am this morning (August 1st, 2017), a man in his 40’s was still being questioned
The man was arrested on Monday afternoon and is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at Thurles Garda Station.
“The Emergency Services in both cases have been amazing,” said Cllr Goldsboro. “And the Guards, the outdoor staff, and to see how the rural communities are rallying behind both families, is something to be very proud, to see how much good can come from a very bad situation.”
Michael Stapleton (68) is remembered as an outgoing and personable man who loved talking to people and he was well known in neighbouring villages. Michael’s brother Eugene died a few years ago just a short distance from the family home, and near the spot where Michael himself died. A local person rushed to his side and performed CPR, but he was later pronounced dead at the scene. The area had to be preserved overnight so the forensic division could do their work, and carry out a search of the area.
“His sister lived in the area, and his two other brothers as well. And it’s very hard for them to come out and when they look left, they’ll see where one brother died, and when they look right, they’ll see where the other brother died,” said Cllr Goldsboro. “It’s very hard, it’s tragic, to see it happen only a few yards away from his front door.” This brings to five the number of people killed on Tipperary’s roads this year so far. “People are not slowing down. They are preoccupied on the roads, and rushing to work,” said Cllr Goldsboro.
Inspector Powell of Thurles Garda Station put out an appeal for information following the tragedy. A number of ambulances rushed to the scene, accompanied by Thurles Gardaí
The area of the crash is a country road with no footpath. Inspector Powell warned motorists and pedestrians to take special care on country roads during the fine weather. “Fortunately, the deaths in this Division are on the decrease compared to this time last year. We would ask that pedestrians and cyclists to wear yellow fluorescent jackets. We would ask drivers to reduce their speed, especially in rural areas.”
Michael (predeceased by his father Billy and brother Eugene), is deeply mourned by his mother Mai, brothers Willie-Joe and Eamon, sister Anne, and extended family. Reposing at Egan's Funeral Home, Thurles, Wednesday, (August 2nd) from 5pm with removal at 7.30pm to Ss Patrick's and Oliver's Church, Glengoole, via Mary-Willies. Requiem Mass Thursday at 11.30am and burial afterwards in adjoining cemetery.
Witnesses who can assist with the investigation of this fatal hit and run road traffic collision, to contact them at Thurles Garda Station on 0504 - 25100, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.
Separately, eight-year-old Harry O'Connor from South Tipperary passed away on Saturday following a tragic boating accident in Boston last week. Harry was travelling with his family on a 23-foot Four Winns Bowrider when the vessel capsized near Hog Island channel on Wednesday last.
Harry had previously attended Gaelscoil Cluain Meala and Montessori at Clonmel Childcare. Prior to moving to the US, the O'Connor family were active members