The annual remembrance service for victims of farm accidents is an opportunity for the farming community to stand in solidarity with those affected by farm deaths and injuries, said Norma Rohan of Embrace Farm, the Farm Accident Support Network.

The fourth remembrance service will be held in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, on Sunday, June 25 at 2:00pm.

Every year the service attracts hundreds of Irish farm families who have been affected by a farm death or injury.

Embrace Farm was founded by Laois couple Brian and Norma Rohan after Brian’s dad, Liam, died as a result of a farm accident five years ago.

“As there are a lot of excellent professional counselling services out there at the moment, we don’t see the need to replicate them,” said Norma Rohan.

We focus on connecting families who have been bereaved by farm deaths or affected by farm injuries.

“We have held a number of information nights. Out of those came the suggestion from a young widow of a residential family weekend, where the emphasis is on the children having fun.

“It gives them the chance to meet other children who have been similarly affected. They realise they are not the only ones labelled as the child whose dad died in a farm accident.

“Part of the weekend involves a bereavement workshop for adults, facilitated by a trained psychotherapist. On the Sunday morning, the children have their own bereavement workshop where they hold their own remembrance service.”

Norma Rohan said the child-centred initiative has proven to work well.

“We had our second one last weekend, and the families that came to our first one last year, all returned.”

An adult residential weekend will be held to coincide with the church remembrance service. “The focus will be on women who have lost their husbands,” Rohan said.

The remembrance service is open to all members of the community, not just those directly affected.

As the death toll on Irish farms continues to rise, Rohan urged farmers to heed the safety initiatives devised by the various farm safety organisations.

“We ask them to follow the advice about staying safe on the farm, and to think of how they can get back home safely to their families every evening.”