NEWS

Tributes paid to man who died after fall from Donegal bridge

Ian Smith from Co. Fermanagh was working on the bridge in Gaoth Dobhair

Staff Reporter

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

Tributes paid to man who died after fall from Donegal bridge

Rescue services attended the scene at Gaoth Dobhair Station Bridge.

Tributes have been paid to the man who died after falling into a river from a bridge he was working on in Gaoth Dobhair yesterday.
Ian Smith from Kesh, Co. Fermanagh, who was aged in his 60s, was carrying out work on the Gaoth Dobhair Station Bridge at Coisclady when he fell into the water at around 11am.
Mr Smith was working for a Northern Ireland-based company which was carrying out works for Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
A search operation involving divers, gardaí, ambulance and fire personnel as well the Coast Guard Rescue 118 helicopter was launched.
His body was recovered from the river Clady about 200 metres from where he fell at around 3pm by divers.
The Health and Safety Authority sent investigators to the scene yesterday afternoon and an investigation was continuing today.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA, Rosemary Barton, also from Kesh, knew Mr Smith and described him as a "quiet man".
“He was a very quiet, unassuming and hard-working man who was from a well-known family in the Kesh area, who had been working with a local contractor for a long number of years.
"Speaking with him at a function over Christmas, he was very much looking forward to the new year and the building of the new hall at Dromard near Kesh which he had a great interest in. In fact, on Saturday he was involved in voluntary preparation work for this new build. Most of all, however, my heartfelt sympathy goes to his immediate family of two brothers, sister-in-laws, nieces and nephews where he will be greatly missed.”
Canon Henry Blair, the rector of Ardess Parish Church, said Mr Smith's family is "distraught".
"Ian was well liked in the area. He was very quiet, he kept himself to himself and liked being a part of the community. I don't think his death has really sunk in yet. Everyone is very saddened by the suddenness of this tragedy,” he said.
A minute's silence held at today’s meeting of Donegal County Council’s Glenties Municipal District today.
Cllr Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Esbuig said it was exceptionally sad for his family, colleagues and the community. He said it was very sad for everyone involved.
Mr Smith is survived by his two brothers, Ashley and Richard.