Ardara man’s death deemed an accident

A man who was his town’s St Patrick in the annual March 17th parade died when a tree he was cutting twisted unexpectedly and fell on him.

Hugh Diver, from Ardara,  was trapped by large branches across his back and neck and couldn’t breathe, his inquest heard yesterday in Donegal town.

The 59-year-old experienced tree-cutter was using a short-blade chainsaw to cut trees in the drive of a neighbour’s house at Garroword, Ardara.

Garda John Kilbane said when called to the scene last August 4 the tree, in a line leading from the house to the main road, was cut in a ditch and fell into a field. Mr Diver was trapped by large branches across his back and neck.

Coroner Dr Diarmuid Hegarty said all the evidence suggested that when the tree was cut it twisted suddenly on its axis and landed in an unexpected way.

He paid tribute to Mr Diver, a married man with three daughters and a son, for his involvement in community activities.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Apart from leading the Ardara parade as Ireland’s national saint on St Patrick’s Day, bearded Mr Diver was also a controversial witness at the Morris Tribunal into allegations against gardai in Co. Donegal.