Everyone working in the Farming and Fishing industries have been urged to take all safety precautions during the current adverse weather conditions by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

The warning comes as thousands have been left without power across the country particularly in western counties as strong winds battered exposed areas over night.

According to Met Eireann a Status Red wind warning is still in place for western counties with stormy conditions this morning in parts of the north and west, with some severe damaging gusts of 130 to 150 km/h possible in western and northern coastal counties.

It also says there will also be heavy showers this morning, of hail and thunder, which will fall as sleet and snow on higher ground and these may lead to spot flooding.

Minister Coveney said it is important that the agriculture and fishing industries take every precaution to avoid risk of injury or worse during this period.

“With storm force winds forecast, farmers  and fishermen need to exercise caution in exposed coastal areas and have full regard to local weather warnings before venturing to sea. Very cold conditions are also forecast to continue over the coming days and into next week.”

The Minister also said whilst we have not experienced the same number of winter storms as last year, it is important that farmers are prepared by taking adequate precautions.

“Ensuring salt is available to reduce the risk of falls and trips on frosty ground and adequately securing items easily caught by high wind such as shed doors are just some of the ways of reducing the risk of accident.”

He added that “2014 proved to be the worst year for farm accidents since 1992 with 30 farmers deaths reported, while tragic incidents in our fishing industry in recent years resulted in the sad loss of many lives. It is important that these appalling figures focus our minds in respect of farm and fishery safety this year and particularly during adverse weather”.

The Minister also drew attention to the BE WINTER-READY campaign and encouraged everyone to check out the valuable information provided at the following website http://www.winterready.ie/Be-Winter-Ready.aspx.

This website provides useful information on being prepared for difficult winter weather.