A scrappage scheme to remove old machinery or damaged PTO covers from farms has been proposed by farming organisations to a Seanad hearing on farm safety.

ICMSA President John Comer said a scrappage scheme based around replacing faulty or uncovered PTO shafts could include a VAT rebate. “The huge levels of capital investment that has taken place recently and that is currently taking place on Irish farms specifically require minimum standards regarding health and safety.

“The current Farm Safety Scheme for upgrading of farms is a very positive initiative and ICMSA believe this Scheme should be continued and expanded and perhaps include a “Scrappage Scheme” which would facilitate the replacement of older machinery with new more modern and safer equipment.”

Fine Gael Senator Maurice Cummins also said that with the vast majority of farm accidents in the last 10 years, 96 in total, related to farm machinery and vehicles, and a scheme to replace older machinery should be considered.

IFA Pesident Eddie Downey said that simple steps and measures are needed to be implemented through simple messages to farmers. He also said that a scrappage scheme for PTO covers should be implemented.

He also said that farming organisations have people now thinking to stop the PTO before they get off the tractor, but a further step is needed. “We need them to turn off the tractor and put on the handbreak.”

Everybody is working together to reduce these deaths, he said.  He also called for a proper module put in place in agricultural education on farm safety.