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Independent.ie

Sunday 22 January 2017

Grassroots diary: Farm safety group reaches out to farmers in the west

Published 19/11/2016 | 16:10

Embrace FARM will host a support group meeting in the Corralea Court Hotel , Tuam, Co Galway on Friday November 25, at 8pm.

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The establishment of Embrace Farm was a much needed effort to reach out a helping hand from within farming to those who have been affected by a farm accident.

The support group was set up in 2014 by Norma and Brian Rohan, after Brian's father Liam died in 2012 following a farm accident.

Laois man Liam was a highly respected dairy farmer, a former champion ploughman and well-known for his diligence when it came to farm safety. As someone said at the time: "If it could happen to Liam Rohan, it could happen to anyone."

The Tuam meeting will be facilitated by Peter Gohery who got involved in Embrace Farm shortly after it was established, having himself survived a serious farm accident.

In 2009, Galway farmer Peter lost one leg above the knee and badly injured the other when he got caught up in an unprotected PTO.

Peter explains that the Tuam meeting is not about farm safety but rather to offer emotional support and practical advice to the bereaved, survivors and witnesses of farm accidents.

In particular, it is aimed at people in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon areas and they are hoping to reach out to those who have not been in touch with Embrace before.

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The meeting will be informal and there will be personal accounts from two people bereaved by a farm accident, Padraig Higgins and Angela Hogan. A professional bereavement counsellor will also be available to discuss the impact of loss and trauma.

Padraig's six year-old son James died in an accident on the family farm in Shannonbridge, Co Offaly while Angela Hogan's partner Brendan Kelly was fatally injured when he was pulled into a baler.

"I am one of the lucky ones," says Peter Gohery. "At least I was able to get up and go again. It was a hurdle I had to jump. Other doors opened up. I want others to see that this can happen for them too."

"As farmers we tend hold on to a lot. Especially when a young person is killed, people blame themselves ," he says. Some have "bottled" things up for 20 years or more.

"In the early days, family and friends are great," said Peter, "but that support starts to dwindle and the silence can become deafening."

For further information, contact Peter Gohery at 087 4183620, email petergohery@gmail.com. Brian or Norma Rohan of Embrace Farm can be contacted on 085 7709966 or embrace.farm@gmail.com

Queen of the Land crowned

Westmeath suckler farmer Karen Elliffe was crowned the 2016 WR Shaw Queen of the Land at a glitzy gala banquet in the Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, Co Offaly on Sunday night.

The 26 year-old qualified from the University of Limerick in 2013 with a degree in Equine Science, which included her Green Cert. She has been farming full time ever since alongside her father Larry in Streamstown. She is also a registered Irish Angus producer.

An emotional Karen paid tribute to her parents, Larry and Helen, and her fellow contestants whom she said had made it the “most memorable weekend ever”.

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As well as the prestigious Queen of the Land title and the Linda O’Brien tiara that accompanies the title, Karen took home a commissioned piece of Galway Crystal from Cahill Jewellers and sponsored by WR Shaw, a two-night break in the Bridge House Hotel, plus a €200 voucher from Kode Clothing.

Aoife Dooner from Kildare was runner-up and Hannah Barton from England took second runner-up while Chris Manley was selected by the Queens as best escort.

Macra members should have got their breath back by next Monday when the ever-busy Carrigaline Club holds its annual agricultural conference in the Estuary Suite, Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, at 19.30pm.

Email: farming@independent.ie

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