‘You hope a farm accident never happens to you, then all of a sudden it does’

You hope that a farm accident never happens to you and then all of a sudden it does, Angela Hogan, the partner of a farmer killed in a farm accident, has said.

Hogan was speaking on RTE Radio with Embrace Farm founder Brian Rohan as part of farm safety fortnight.

In July 2011, her partner Brendan Kelly, a contractor, was out baling and was fatally injured after he was pulled into the baler.

“Nobody plans for anything like this. In hindsight it’s easier to talk about it now, but it would have been easier if we had a plan in place for the farm should something happen.

“I’m not from a farming background and suddenly I was hit with the future of the farm.”

Their son, Ronan who was 11 at the time, was in the tractor when the accident happened, she said. The emergency services were then called and she was told the news by Brendan’s brother.

Ronan is continuing on with farming, he’s just gone 16 and working with local farmers and loves farming. It’s in his blood to continue on.

“I’m very concious of farm safety for him and encouraging him to do farm safety courses.”

Hogan said that since she wasn’t married to Brendan, she had no access to bank accounts and they were frozen following the accident.

“It’s been nearly five years since it happened and they’re still frozen. I had to get a solicitor for the kids and for myself. He had no will and we weren’t married, so the farm automatically goes to the children.”

Embrace Farm

Embrace Farm was set up by Brian Rohan after his father was involved in a farm accident in 2012 and passed away from the injury.

Rohan explained how 2012 was a difficult year to get silage made due to bad weather and his father was fixing the rake on the back of a tractor when the accident happened.

All we can work out is the machine came apart and gave him a blow to the head. He walked back to the house and 15-20 minutes later he was unconscious.

His father was then brought him to hospital where Rohan said it was found that he had a bleed on the brain from the blow to his head. He said his father was placed on life support but he didn’t recover and it was turned off.

“You can’t put a sign on the gate to say that there’s been a farm accident. We set up Embrace Farm following the accident to support others affected by farm accidents.

“Our farm was on of the safest farms we knew of until dad’s accident, he was a careful man. It can happen in the blink of an eye, it only takes 30 seconds to think what if?”

Furthermore, Rohan said that there is an issue with farm incomes and that farmers are taking on bigger workloads.

Incomes are so low on the farm, a lot of farmers can’t afford someone else so they do all the work themselves.

Speaking about Embrace Farm, Angela Hogan said that it gives her a bit of comfort to be speaking to widows in the same situation as herself and that it “gives you a bit of hope”.

“It’s important that children are aware of farm safety, that they’re aware of what lies ahead when they’re taking on a job. It’s important to get that message through to them,” she said.