6th year of commemoration for farm accident victims

Embrace Farm, the farm accident support network, held its sixth service of commemoration for those affected by farm accidents, in Abbeyleix, on Sunday, June 30.

The all-island ecumenical remembrance service was celebrated in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Abbeyleix. The ceremony remembered all the lives lost and affected by farm accidents throughout the 32 counties.

The sixth service was led by local clergy from the Church of Ireland, Canon Harvey and Roman Catholic, Fr. Ahern. Monsignor Kevin O’Neill took part as did Fr. Gerard Ahern, Rev. Ruth Gill and Fr. Michael Kelly.

They especially remembered this year the passing of Fr. Cummins who presided over the service in 2018 and was tragically killed earlier this year in a freak car accident.

Names of loved ones

During the service the names of 290 farmers who have died in farm accidents were read out by Majella Philpott whose dad, Daniel, lost his life in a farm accident.

Readings were by Mícháel Whelton, west Cork, in memory of his brother Diarmaid; Mercer Ward, Northern Ireland, in tribute to his son Allan; and Declan Donohoe, Galway, in remembrance of his son Declan junior.

This year’s wreath was accepted by Angela Hogan in memory of her partner Brendan Kelly, Nenagh, a much-loved dad to Ronan and Grace and brother to the Kelly family.


Farm accident survivors were represented by Ann Doherty and Aengus Mannion who lit candles with Embrace Farm ambassador, rugby great, John Hayes.

The large congregation included grieving families; relatives; friends; and neighbours.

Also attending the service were representatives of government departments, farming organisations, public representatives and agri-business personnel. They included: Andrew Doyle, minister for forestry; Charlie Flanagan, minister for justice and equality; and Joe Healy, IFA president.

Pat McCormack, ICMSA president; Edward Phelan, newly elected president of the ICSA; Jude McCann, CEO of Rural Support in Northern Ireland; and Caroline Farrell, chair of IFA family farm committee, were among the congregation.

Pat McCormack, ICMSA president; Thomas Duffy, Macra national president; Zita Blair, president of the YFCU; with Victor Chestnutt, UFU deputy president; and Joe Healy, IFA president

John McNamara, Teagasc health and safety specialist; Sharon McGuinness, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority (HSA); Pat Griffin, senior inspector, HSA; Charles Gallagher, CEO of the Irish Holstein Friesian Association (IHFA); and Brendan Gleeson, secretary general at the department of agriculture and food, gathered for the occasion.

Victor Chestnutt, deputy president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, newly elected president of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, Zita McNaugher and newly elected president of Macra Na Feirme, Thomas Duffy, were also present for the sixth annual service.

Sponsored light refreshments were served in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel after the service. Brian and Norma Rohan, founders of Embrace Farm, thanked the clergy, choir, readers and all who attended the service.

They expressed their appreciation for the work done by the board of Embrace Farm as well as volunteers, sponsors, Roger Jones photography and all who assisted in any way.