Irish council worker killed by falling tree in Storm Eunice named as 59-year-old dad Billy Kinsella

Hail on Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, during Storm Eunice
Hail falls on the Cliffs of Moher, in County Clare, during Storm Eunice. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

An Irish council worker who died after being hit by a falling tree during Storm Eunice has been named locally as father-of-one Billy Kinsella.

The 59-year-old was clearing debris from a road close to his home in Co Wexford when he was hit as a tree came down on Friday.

Tributes paid to the council worker, from Clonroe in Gorey, said he died "in the line of duty" as he worked to keep roads safe in the storm.

Mr Kinsella, an employee of Wexford County Council, had been attending the scene of another fallen tree in Ballythomas when he was fatally injured.

Sinn Fein councillor Fionntan O Suilleabhain, who lives close to Mr Kinsella and grew up with his family, was among those to pay tribute.

“People in the area are devastated. It is such a tragedy for his wife Rita and their only child Conor.

“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 Fail councillor Donal Kenny said: “I knew Billy quite well. He 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.

“It is very difficult for his family.”

Mr Kinsella was one of four people to die in Storm Eunice on Friday, across the UK and Ireland.

The storm's victims included a man aged in his 20s, who was killed when a car he was a passenger in collided with a tree in Hampshire, England. A man in his 50s died after debris struck a van windscreen in Merseyside, shortly after 2pm.

And a woman aged in her 30s died after a tree fell on a car in north London shortly after 4pm, as the storm swept across the capital.

Yellow weather warnings are in place across the Republic and Northern Ireland over the weekend.

Met Eireann has said unsettled weather will continue over the weekend in the wake of Storm Eunice.

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

On Sunday, a Met Office yellow weather warning says "very strong winds" may cause disruption across Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland and the Irish Sea coasts.