The fourth remembrance service for victims of farm accidents will be held in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary, Abbeyleix, Co. Laois, tomorrow, June 25, at 2:00pm.

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

Embrace Farm – the farm accident support network – was founded by Laois couple Brian and Norma Rohan after Brian’s dad, Liam, died in 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,” Norma said recently.

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

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

Minister’s plea

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has issued an appeal to farmers and contractors to take extra precautions in the good weather.

As well as being asked to remain safety conscious when making silage, farmers were also urged to be aware of the fatigue that can build up after long hours operating high-powered machinery.

Creed said: “Farmers and contractors are taking full advantage of the current excellent spell of weather and are literally making hay while the sun shines. This of course means longer working days and added pressure to get seasonal harvesting work done.

This weather also means a lot of children are out and about on farms, and it is critical that safety is foremost in everyone’s mind and that we take the steps to avoid injuries, or worse: the loss of life.

“I have too many times seen the devastating impact that farm accidents can have on a family.”