Investigation: what TDs want to know
The 15-member Oireachtas Agriculture Committee will quiz the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) over the number of farm deaths. But what issues do they intend to raise?
÷ Andrew Doyle TD (FG/chairman): "The HSA have to answer for themselves about a range of issues, from safety to how they are funded."
÷ Pat Deering TD (FG/vice-chairman): "This is more than just an issue of inspections and we must avoid a kneejerk reaction. We have to explore educational elements in relation to safety."
÷ Éamon Ó Cuív TD (FF) (inset): "We need to consider asking insurance firms to offer discounts to farmers who have carried out safety audits. It is in the interest of the firms, as it means there should be fewer payouts."
÷ Willie Penrose TD (Lab): "I would like to see the safety body increase inspections, but it's not the be-all and end-all. Education and awareness are extremely important.
÷ Senator Michael Comiskey (FG): "We don't want to put farmers under more pressure from an inspection point of view. However, discussions around safety need to take place.
÷ Senator Pat O'Neill (FG):
"Awareness and education are crucial. The 31 deaths we have had are far too many. The Government and the HSA should mount an awareness campaign in relation to farm safety."
÷ Martin Ferris TD (SF): Any reduction when it comes to health and safety is of serious concern to citizens, particularly for people from the land."
÷ Martin Heydon TD (FG): "I am very concerned at the number of farm deaths last year and have met Simon Coveney on the issue. Everyone is responsible in raising awareness, but there can be no kneejerk reaction."
÷ Michael McNamara TD (Lab): "It's about awareness, it's not something you can police."
(The other six committee members did not respond when contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday)
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