The family of Mayobridge man Declan Small, who died along with Lord Ballyedmond and two other Norbrook employees on Thursday evening, said he was the entrepreneur’s “right-hand man”.
Mr Small worked as a site foreman for the leading businessman and was said to have enjoyed his time with Norbrook.
The 42-year-old’s family described him as a “reliable and loyal son, brother and friend”.
“Renowned for his quick-witted humour, Declan was much loved by all who knew him,” they told the Irish News.
“A long-standing employee of Norbrook, Declan was a craftsman and joiner who took great joy and pride in his work. The family are devastated at the untimely and tragic circumstances of Declan’s passing,” they added.
Mr Small, who did not have any children, worked mainly overseas for the veterinary pharmaceutical company but returned to Co Down at the weekends to spend time with his family and friends.
A keen Gaelic footballer in his youth, he played for his local Mayobridge side until the age of 16 and was said to have maintained an interest in the club’s fortunes.
His family also said he had helped care for his father, who died a number of years ago, his mother and brothers from a young age.
Mr Small is survived by his mother Margaret, brothers Micheal, Shane and Anrai, partner Bernie McDonnell and sister-in-law Suzanne.