Farmers and farm families in the west of Ireland are set to have a formal network to turn to following a meeting next week to help them deal with the awful toll from accidents on the land.

Embrace FARM, the bereavement support group based in the midlands, is to establish its second network, this time for Connacht counties.

Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo, have all been hit by fatal and non-fatal accidents over recent decades, with four people dying in accidents there last year alone.

The organisation, founded by Co. Laois farmer Brian Rohan after his father Liam died following a farm accident in 2012, has been providing bereavement support for farm families, mostly in the midlands, who have lost a loved one or suffered serious injury in a farming accident.

However, in response to requests from families to establish a similar network to support farm families in the west, Embrace FARM will host an open evening at the Corralea Hotel in Tuam, Co. Galway on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 8pm.

Announcing the event, Embrace FARM Director Peter Gohery from Eyrecourt, Co. Galway, who lost a leg in a horrific PTO shaft accident five years ago and will be running the west of Ireland Group said that farm accidents can have a devastating effect on families.

“Since it was established by Brian Rohan last year, Embrace FARM has been providing support to many families who are trying to deal with the fall out from these accidents, whether the accidents were fatal or non-fatal accidents.

As I well know, farm accidents can happen anywhere at any time and the west of Ireland has had more than its share over the years.

“Thanks to its great work supporting families in the midlands, Embrace FARM has had a number of requests from people in the west to establish a bereavement support network and our meeting in Tuam next week will hopefully be the key step towards that,” he said.

Looking ahead to the meeting Brian Rohan said that people who come to the meetings get a lot from sharing their experience with others who have been affected by farm accidents but it’s very informal and more an opportunity to chat and listen than anything.

The primary objective of Embrace Farm is providing support to bereaved families through bereavement support sessions and an annual remembrance service.

The organisation last year, in response to the dramatic increase in farm accidents and fatalities, embarked on a farm safety awareness programme that has commenced with the launch of a video campaign ‘What’s Left Behind’, supported by ABP Food Group, in which it tells, through personal testimony, the harrowing legacy of farm accidents.