This year needs to be a watershed year for farm safety, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney told crowds at the Tullamore Show in Offaly.

He said that last year (2014) was the most tragic year on record on Irish farms and that must never be repeated again. Thirty people died in farming-related accidents in 2014.

“We all know someone that has been involved in a significant farm accident or has tired to pick up the pieces and move on after a fatality.”

He told the Tullamore Show audience that his Department is trying to put money into farm safety and raise its profile.

“We are linking TAMS schemes to farm safety and all the new discussion groups will have a mandatory farm safety course. Everyone applying for a TAMS grant will have a half day farm safety course to do.”

He also said that it was up to each individual to change the statistics around farm safety.

“The people who will really change the statistics and trauma of farm safety is you – in your own family. It’s your partners, sons and daughters demanding a change of approach when it comes to farm safety.”

He said it was “ironic” that the Tullamore Show Chairman Rodney Cox was at the event in a wheelchair after a recent farm accident.

“There will always be freak accidents in agriculture but we can do a lot more than we have done to minimise that risk.

“We need to reduce the numbers (of farm accidents) and the number of familes affected by farming accidents.”

There was a number of farm safety demonstrations at the Tullamore Show this year to highlight the issues around farm safety.