Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Farmer 'drowned' after being 'knocked into a slurry pit by his tractor rolling backwards'

Mr McGrath's body was removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination is due to be carried out. (Stock photo)
Mr McGrath's body was removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination is due to be carried out. (Stock photo)

Margaret Donnelly, Sarah Slater and Ian Begley

A farmer has died tragically after a tractor apparently knocked him into a slurry pit.

The 52-year-old was named as Michael McGrath by locals in west Clare, where he farmed near Labasheeda.

Mr McGrath is understood to have been working with a tractor and trailer at around 7.20pm on Tuesday and was unloading slurry when the vehicle rolled backwards and knocked him into a slurry pit.

It's believed that Mr McGrath drowned before he could be rescued, however all the circumstances of the incident remain under investigation.

Two units of the fire brigade and an ambulance from Kilrush were called to the scene but Mr McGrath could not be saved.

The victim's body was removed to University Hospital Limerick where a post-mortem examination is due to be carried out.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) visited the scene yesterday while gardaí will undertake a separate investigation.

Mr McGrath is survived by his partner Elizabeth and a daughter, believed to be three.


This is the eighth death on Irish farms this year and comes at a busy time in farming.

Separately, a motoring chief is warning that, "enough is enough" and tractor users need to be subject to the full rigours of the law when it comes to motorway use.

Over the past 10 years, 46 out of 47 collisions involving tractors on the nation's roads have proved fatal according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The latest was just last week after the driver of a heavy goods vehicle which he was driving collided with a tractor on the N25 Waterford bypass. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The male driver of the tractor (25) was taken to University Hospital Waterford with non-life threatening injuries.

Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) president Verona Murphy said compulsory NCT roadworthiness tractor tests needed to be urgently introduced and that Ireland was the only country in Europe that allowed tractors to be used on motorways.

It is now being mooted that it will be compulsory for these types of vehicles to be tested for roadworthiness by May 2018 by many other EU countries.

Figures from the Central Statistic Office (CSO) show that last year, 1,986 new tractors were licensed.

"This is a huge issue and regulatory bodies don't seem to be too concerned about it. They need to take a look at what is happening in other EU countries when it comes to using tractors on motorways or their equivalent," she said.

"This is a highly, highly dangerous situation the Department of Transport and the RSA have allowed to emerge. Does it not tell you something when Ireland is the only country in Europe which allows tractors to be used on motorways?"


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