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

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 wonderful husband and father’.

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

Paying tribute to her husband of 26 years, Rita Kinsella told the Irish Independent“No one could ask for a better husband or father. It will be difficult to digest. You know when you’re used to someone coming home at night and now suddenly they’re gone.

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

Sinn Fein Councilor Fionntan O Suilleabhain, who lives near Mr Kinsella and grew up with his family, was also among those who paid tribute.

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

(Nicholas T Ansell/PA)

“People in the area are devastated,” he said. “It’s such a tragedy for his wife Rita and their only child Conor.

“Billy died in the line of duty while working for the council and witnessing the scene of a fallen tree. He died on the corner of the street where we both live and he died in a way that makes it most tragic.

“He comes from a very respected family and a very hardworking family. He was a quiet family man who was devoted to his son, whom he took everywhere to sporting events. People are very shocked.

Fianna Fail adviser Donal Kenny added: “I knew Billy quite well. He was a nice, easy-going guy and he was one of those guys who got along well with their day job.

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

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

(James Manning/PA)

A man in his 20s was also killed in Alton, Hampshire, after his van collided with a tree, while a man in his 50s died in Netherton, Merseyside, after debris hit hit the windshield 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 were “very lucky” no one was injured after the huge oak tree crashed into the roof of their detached house in Stondon Massey, north of Brentwood.

Bad weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend. On Sunday, the Met Office put in place a yellow east wind warning in place for England, Wales and south-west Scotland, while a yellow rain warning covers Lancashire and the Cumbria.

A yellow weather warning for ice remains in place across the Republic and Northern Ireland. Met Eireann said the 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


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