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Tributes to ‘devoted’ father killed by falling tree who died ‘in the line of duty’

Tributes to ‘devoted’ father killed by falling tree who died ‘in the line of duty’
Council worker was ‘extremely great husband and father,’ says wife of 26 years

The wife of an Irish council worker who died after being hit by a falling tree during Storm Eunice has paid tribute to the “extremely great husband and father”.

William “Billy” Kinsella, 59, had been clearing debris from a road leading to a school near his home in County Wexford when he was fatally injured by a tree brought down in fierce winds on Friday. Three other people were also killed during the storm on the same day.

Paying tribute to her husband of 26 years, Rita Kinsella told the Irish Independent: “Nobody could ask for a better husband or father. It will be hard to digest. You know when you’re used to someone coming home in the evening time and today, suddenly, they are not there.”

She added that “our son Conor is in first year in University College Dublin and he was always interested in his career and he always attended Conor’s GAA matches. We’re so proud of him.”

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

<p>Damaged caused to a home in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex, after a 400-year-old oak tree was uprooted by Storm Eunice</p>

Damaged caused to a home in Stondon Massey, near Brentwood, Essex, after a 400-year-old oak tree was uprooted by Storm Eunice

“People in the area are devastated,” he said. “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. People are very shocked.”

Fianna Fail councillor Donal Kenny added: “I knew Billy quite well. He was a nice easygoing fella and was one of those lads who got on with his day’s work.”

A woman in her 30s also died in Friday’s storm after a tree fell on a car as it passed Highgate Woods in north London. The driver of the car was taken to hospital but his condition was not believed to be life-threatening.

<p>A roadside filled with debris from the rooftops of three houses which were torn off during storm Eunice, on Kilburn Park Road in north west London</p>

A roadside filled with debris from the rooftops of three houses which were torn off during storm Eunice, on Kilburn Park Road in north west London

A man in his 20s was also killed in Alton, Hampshire, after his pick-up truck collided with a tree, while a man in his 50s died in Netherton, Merseyside, after debris struck the windscreen of his vehicle.

A 400-year-old oak tree uprooted by Storm Eunice also destroyed part of a family home in Essex. Dominic Good, 57, was in the middle of a work conference call at his home on Friday morning when he was interrupted by an “almighty crash”.

The father-of-two said his family was “very lucky” that no one was injured after the huge oak tree crashed through the roof of their detached house in Stondon Massey, north of Brentwood.

The bad weather is set to continue all weekend. On Sunday, the Met Office has put in place a yellow warning for wind is in place for England, Wales, and southwest Scotland, while a yellow rain warning covers Lancashire and Cumbria.

A yellow weather warning for ice remains in place across the Republic and Northern Ireland. Met Eireann has said unsettled weather will continue over the weekend with a yellow rain warning in place for Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo until 4pm on Sunday.

Additional reporting by Press Association