Community numbed at farm death tragedy

August 29, 2016

The tragic death of a Silverbridge farmer in an accident on his farm has numbed the local community and left a huge void in the lives of those closest to him.

Gene Murphy (70) died on Thursday afternoon in an accident involving a tractor on the family farm, just a short distance from his home.  Despite the efforts of neighbours who rushed to his aid, they were unable to save the father-of-four and he passed away at the scene.

A subsequent post-mortem revealed Mr Murphy died from injuries consistent with compression and the Health and Safety Executive said it is investigating the circumstances of the tragedy.

Gene Murphy was extremely well known and respected in Silverbridge and the wider south Armagh community.  A keen angler, he was chairman and founding member of Silverbridge Angling Club, while he and his family have had a lifelong association with the local GAA club, Silverbridge Harps.

Club chairman, John Murphy, said Gene’s presence at the club will be sorely missed.  He paid tribute to the former player’s unfailing contribution, and that of his family, to all aspects of club life throughout the years and, on behalf of its committee and members, he extended deepest sympathy to his bereaved family.

Club secretary Jarlath Burns said the tragedy has plunged members into mourning.

“The Murphy family have always been long-standing, respected members of our club. Gene was a very gentle, lovely, highly respected, quiet man who was always about our club.  All members of Gene’s family and himself would be very much involved in every aspect of the club’s activities.  Any event that we ever held Gene would have been there. Himself and his wife Brea and their family would have been highly active members of our club,” he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Barra Ó Muiri said the entire community is “in shock”.

Offering his sympathy to the bereaved family, he said: “Mr Murphy was a well liked individual who came from a very respected family in the area. There is a strong sense of community here in Silverbridge and I have no doubt that the people of the area will rally around the family in the coming days.”

Members of Silverbridge Angling Club and Silverbridge Harps GFC formed guards of honour as the cortege, draped in the flag of his beloved club, arrived to St. Mary’s Church in Mullaghbawn, which was packed to capacity for requiem Mass on Sunday morning.   Mourners heard Fr. John Heagney describe Gene as a devoted family man and a pillar of the community.  He praised his deep sense of faith and his dedication to the church and expressed hope that that same faith will help comfort his grieving family in the difficult days ahead.

Left to mourn his passing are his wife Brea, sons Eugene, Martin and Aidan, daughter Theresa, brother Eamon, sisters Marie and Ann, daughters-in-law Joanne, Sinead and Ann-Marie, grandchildren Eoghan, Eadaoin, Conor, Ruairi, Ceallagh, Shea, Ryan and Niall, and many close relations and friends, to whom deepest sympathy is extended.