Farmers pleaded with to work safely, following a dark week on Irish farms

Once again, farmers have been pleaded with to keep safety in mind when carrying out their work by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

Speaking to AgriLand at the opening of Dairygold’s new Nutritional Campus in Mallow on Friday, September 22, Minister Creed believes wholesale mindset changes are needed to curb the number of accidents happening on Irish farms.

He made the comments in the wake of two men losing their lives on Irish farms this week alone. Meanwhile, another man lost his life and two more were injured in an incident at a mushroom processing plant in Co. Monaghan on September 13.

The issue and importance of farm safety is something that cannot be highlighted enough, according to Minister Creed.

But the high level of farm accidents and fatalities is something that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine – or any Minister for Agriculture on his own – is not going to solve.

“What we can do is create the awareness. It will take a sea of change in behaviour and attitude really to solve that problem. We are dealing with two very tragic events in the space of 48 hours now.

“It is just calamitous, the statistics are just unacceptably high in farming. It is the most dangerous occupation and yet it is the greatest occupation that you can encourage people to be in. But this attitude of ‘it won’t happen to me’ has got to change.

I have stood in too many churchyards, graveyards, family homes and wakes; it has to stop.

Speaking to the crowd present at the opening of Dairygold’s new facility, Minister Creed concluded by saying: “Down in Co. Wexford this morning, a young woman aged 30 – the mother of three children, the youngest is three months old – is going to the church to bury her husband, as a result of a farm accident.

“Last night in Co. Mayo, another farmer lost his life in a quad accident. Can we please farm safely.”

There is a myriad of issues that can result in a farm accident or death, with the main contributors being machinery and livestock, Minister Creed said. The minister also encouraged farmers to look out for one another.

“One of the keys to resolving this [issue] is the neighbourly approach. I will see something on your farm that is a danger that you might not see, because you’re navigating it every day,” he added.

Believing this should be the nationwide approach, Minister Creed encouraged farmers to be vocal and to point out these dangers if they come across them.