A Mayo farmer died after suffering a massive heart attack during the process of pulling a calf, an inquest into his death heard.

John Harrington (66) of Bushfield, Charlestown, Co Mayo, was found dead in a field adjacent to his home at 5.30pm on 29 February last.

The inquest into his death, which took place in Swinford Courthouse, heard that he was in the process of pulling the calf using a calving jack when he collapsed and died.

The newborn calf was found close to Mr Harrington in the field when the body was discovered. Better known as Johnny, Mr Harrington, who was a single man, was last seen alive on 26 February 2024.

Dr Fadel Bennani, the consultant pathologist who performed the post mortem, explained that there was no evidence of head or other injuries to suggest he was attacked.

He said that one of Mr Harrington’s coronary arteries was 85% to 90% blocked and the cause of death in his opinion was due to ischemic heart disease.

Death, he said, was natural and it would have been very sudden.

Dr Bennani agreed with Mr Patrick O'Connor, coroner for the district of Mayo, that pulling a calf is strenuous work.

Much-loved person

Mr O'Connor said he knew Mr Harrington personally and described him as a much appreciated and loved person in the community, who will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

He added that farming can involve very strenuous work and it is important farmers have regular checkups to identify any medical conditions they may be developing.

“His death due to a coronary condition brought home the advisability of persons at a certain stage in life to have regular medical checkups,” he said.

“Mr Harrington was doing a normal day's activity on the farm which was strenuous. He was pulling a calf which was born alive and, unfortunately, it seems Mr Harrington suffered a heart condition."

Strenuous work

“It is sometimes not appreciated that farmers do have very strenuous work on farms and they should be mindful of the need to have regular medical checkups. They may have medical conditions which need attention,” Mr O'Connor added.

Mr O'Connor recorded a verdict of death due to natural causes and extended his sympathy to Mr Harrington's brother Tom and sisters Kathleen, Eileen and Elizabeth and their extended family on his untimely death.