Tributes paid to Irish council worker killed by falling tree in Storm Eunice | Ireland

Tributes have been paid to an Irish council worker who “died in the line of duty” after being hit by a falling tree during Storm Eunice.

Billy Kinsella, 59, from Clonroe in Gorey, was clearing debris from a road close to his home in Co Wexford when he was struck.

The father of one was an employee of Wexford county council, and was fatally injured attending the scene of another fallen tree in Ballythomas.

Sinn Féin councilor Fionntan Suilleabhain lived close to Kinsella and grew up with his family. She was among the first to pay tribute.

“People in the area are devastated. It is such a tragedy for his wife, Rita, and their only child Conor,” she said. “Billy died in the line of duty while out doing council work and attending the scene of a fallen tree. He died round the corner from where we both live and he died in a manner that makes it most tragic.

“He comes from a well-respected family and a very hard-working family. He was a quiet family man who was devoted to his son, who he brought to sporting events all over. Conor plays for the under-20s Wexford team and would be heavily involved in GAA, like Billy’s father was before him. People are very shocked.”

Fianna Fáil councilor Donal Kenny said Kinsella was a “nice, easy-going fella” and was “one of those lads who got on with his day’s work”.

“He was out doing his job to keep the roads clear,” Kenny said. “It is very difficult for his family.”

Elsewhere, ESB repair crews worked through the night to restore electricity supplies to more than 70,000 users.

On Saturday afternoon, about 7,000 homes and businesses remained without power.

“Due to the severity of the damage to the electricity network in the south-west region, some customers in south Kerry and West Cork will again be without power overnight and we apologise for the particular difficulty this causes,” ESB said in a statement.

A yellow weather warning for ice stays in place across the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Unsettled weather will continue over the weekend, Met Eireann said.

A status yellow rain warning is in place for Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo until 4pm on Sunday.

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