A farmer has died in a incident in Co. Limerick this week, which it’s understood involved tree-cutting.

Gardaí have confirmed that they, along with emergency services, attended the scene of the incident in the Grange area of Brittas, Co. Limerick at approximately 9:30a.m on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

In a brief statement, An Garda Siochána said:

“One male, aged in his 50s, received fatal injuries in the course of this incident. His body was removed to Limerick Regional Hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.”

The Health and Safety Authority was also notified of the man’s death and the authority has confirmed that the “matter is currently under investigation”.

The local areas in Ballysimon and Brittas in Limerick are in deep shock at the sudden and untimely passing of the farmer and married father of two, named locally as Tom Leahy, originally from Grange, who was also secretary of the Castleconnell branch of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) for several years.

Tom Leahy RIP

Speaking to Agriland, president of ICMSA, Pat McCormack epressed his sadness and that of the organistion at the tragic news and described Tom as “calm and collected” and a “gentleman”.

“Your heart would go out to his wife and young kids, and his extended family,” McComack added.

“He wasn’t doing anything abnormal, cutting timber for the winter nights at a time of year that traditionally would be quieter for some dairy farmers.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and kids, especially in the run up to Christmas. It’s a tragedy.

“He’s a loss also to all in ICMSA; his neighbours and friends will miss him, but above all his wife and family will miss him. That’s a loss that will never return.

“It shows how fragile human life is that he can go out a very strong, fit man in the morning to go about his day’s work and not come home. You can never be careful enough and to be careful enough is impossible when you’re dealing with mother nature,” he added.

ICMSA National Council member for the Castleconnell area, Tim O’Brien, said he knew Tom Leahy well, and noted the esteem in which he was held by all his fellow farmers and the wider community.

“He served as secretary of our ICMSA area and he was very well regarded and held in great affection,” O’Brien said.

“His family have all our sympathy and the wider community around Ballysimon, Pallas, Boher, Dromkeen and Murroe will be greatly upset by this tragedy. Tom took his position seriously and in that capacity – as in all his dealings – he was insightful and dedicated.

“On behalf of Limerick ICMSA and the wider association, I’d like again to offer our most sincere commiserations to Tom’s family and close friends,” O’Brien added.

Farm safety in the spotlight at farmer conference

Earlier this month, farm safety was under the spotlight at the final conference – hosted by the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) in Brussels – of the AgriSafetyNet project.

In Europe, more than 500 deaths are recorded in the agriculture and forestry sector, and in excess of 150,000 non-fatal accidents occur, on average every year.

But, many believe that these figures do not represent the true numbers of fatalities and injuries.

AgriSafetyNet aims to increase knowledge of farmers and practitioners in agriculture on occupational health and safety and risk prevention, using collaborative learning methods.

CEJA president, Diana Lenzi, said that “farming is a rewarding but demanding job, which often comes with a series of risks and dangers”.

CEJA represents the political interests of around two million young farmers from across Europe.