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Education more important than enforcement

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Brian and Norma Rohan. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

Brian and Norma Rohan. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

Brian and Norma Rohan. Picture: Dylan Vaughan

ENCOURAGING farmers to do their job safely is more important than prosecuting them for minor lapses, said Brian Rohan.

The Co Laois farmer knows first-hand the impact a farm fatality can have. He lost his dad Liam two years ago, when a machine part struck him a fatal blow on the head as he worked on farm equipment on his farm in Shanahoe, Co Laois.

Brian said the accident was devastating for the family. He later became aware of how dozens of other families who had suffered similar losses lacked services to support them. He set up an organisation called Embrace Farm, initially for the purpose of holding memorial services for people killed in farm accidents, but it has since taken on an educational role. This includes videos aimed at promoting farm safety and talks in schools alerting children to the risks.

Brian said that while he supported anything that would reduce deaths on farms, blanket prosecutions were not the answer, and these should be reserved for very serious negligence cases.

"A tractor cab might sometimes be the safest place for a child, if the farmer is not busy and can devote his attention to looking after the child. Obviously if you're busy with a big job, that's a different story."

Irish Independent