Remembrance Service in memory of those lost on Irish farms

The second annual Remembrance Service organised by Embrace Farm is to take place on June 28.

The men, women and children who lost their lives in Ireland’s most dangerous working environment, the farm, will be remembered at the mass.

The ecumenical service is to take place at the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Abbeyleix.

Organisers say that the service is expected to draw close on 800 parents, children, relations and friends of victims of tragic accidents from across the country.

Embrace Farm was established to honour the memory of those who died and suffered serious injury in farm accidents and to support their next of kin.

Among those attending the service in support of the bereaved will be Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, former rugby player and farmer John Hayes, current Irish rugby international Sean O’Brien, industry representatives and clergy.

The event, which takes place at 2pm and is led by Embrace Farm founders Brian Rohan and his wife Norma, who launched the voluntary organisation last year in memory of Brian’s late father Liam who was killed following an accident on the family farm in Co. Laois in 2012.

This year’s event comes following a dreadful year in 2014 for fatal farm accidents.

Some 30 people lost their lives in farm accidents during the year, an 87% increase on 2013, and a toll that triggered a major safety awareness campaign from Embrace Farm by way of its viral video campaign ‘What’s Left Behind’, the organisation says.

Regrettably, the death toll continues with seven people having lost their lives so far this year in farm accidents.

“We founded the organisation principally to provide support to families, like ours, who find themselves trying to deal with the death of a loved one on a family farm,” Brian Rohan said.

“When we were here last year we were hoping that we would see a major fall off in farm accidents but unfortunately the death toll continues.

It’s a terrible emotional impact as well as a practical one.

“The Remembrance Service is the biggest opportunity of the year for us to do that as it enables people who have that tragic common experience to come together and share their sense of loss and, indeed, memory of their loved ones, he said.

Embrace Farm supporter and Cork football and camogie dual star Briege Corkery milks 500 cows twice a day with her boyfriend Diarmuid said that hearing of a farm accident stops you in your tracks.

“It is a dangerous working environment and we all need to be so careful because of that.

“So many Irish families have paid a terrible toll due to farm accidents and the Remembrance Service is an opportunity for them to come together and have the support of each other as they think of their loved ones,” she said.

One of the high points of the service will be the reading out of names of people who died in farm accidents and the organisers have asked that those who want their loved one’s names read out to contact them.

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