Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 2 December 2016

Embrace expands services for farm accident victims

Published 09/12/2015 | 02:30

Brian and Norma Rohan, founders of the Embrace counselling network. Photo Dylan Vaughan.
Brian and Norma Rohan, founders of the Embrace counselling network. Photo Dylan Vaughan.

Embrace, the counselling and contact network set up two years ago by Brian and Norma Rohan, is launching a new nationwide campaign to help farming families affected by fatal and non-fatal farm accidents.

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The first formal meeting of the campaign was held in Tuam at the beginning of November and drew an attendance of some 50 people affected by farm accidents while a similar number attended the second Embrace meeting held recently in Glanmire, Co Cork.

Further meetings in Kilkenny, Mullingar and the border counties are planned for early in the new year.

Embrace was set up two years ago after Brian's father, Liam (74), was killed in a farm machinery accident at the family's dairy farm at Shanahoe in Co Laois.

At the inquest into Liam's accidental death, Brian, his son, noticed that there was a counsellor from the Console charity on hand to help another family attending the Coroner's Court who had suffered bereavement through suicide.

The Rohans, who farm over 200 acres and run a herd of over 50 Holsteins, say the inquest experience was awful and wondered why there was no counselling service for those affected by farm accidents.

That thought grew quickly into Embrace. "We felt that Liam's life couldn't just be remembered as a number in a Coroner's Court list. The inquest was a terrible experience and we thought that the farming community should have a similar help service which Console had provided to the family of the man who took his own life," says Norma. "The farming community like to talk and the Embrace meetings allow them to talk about their experiences in a place where they can get help from other people who have been traumatised by these farm accidents. When these accidents occur, people feel they have no one to talk to and nowhere to turn," she adds.

Embrace is a mission for Norma and takes up most of the time she has left after caring for the couple's three children - Julie (3), Emily (2) and three-month-old Liam.

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The Rohans say Embrace has received widespread support throughout the farming community with upwards of 70 farm businesses already backing the organisation. The Department of Agriculture has also helped out and Minister Simon Conveney has been particularly supportive, Norma says.

The Rohans have also noticed that many people who have been affected by non-fatal farming accidents turn up at their meetings and share their stories of the personal battles they have undertaken to re-establish their working lives post medical treatment.

The latest round of Embrace meetings are aimed at extending the organisation's counselling services to them as well.

It's all a long way from that sad day in the Coroner's Court in Tullamore, but the Rohans have ensured that the late Liam Rohan and the numerous other farm accident victims, whether fatal or non fatal, are no longer just numbers in the annual tragic statistics of farm accidents.

Email embrace.farm@gmail.com for more details

Embrace expands services for farm accident victims

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