Derry farmer dies after quad bike accident

There are around 10,000 ATVs in use on Irish farms
There are around 10,000 ATVs in use on Irish farms

Allan Preston

A farmer from the Coleraine area has died after a tragic quad bike accident on Saturday.

Hugh Henry from the village of Ringsend was in his late 50s and married with two children. A spokesperson from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said they were aware of the tragic incident and are making enquiries.

"The Health and Safety Executive extends its deepest sympathies to the man's family at this difficult time," they added.

John McPoland from the NI Ambulance Service said the emergency services were alerted at 4.50pm on Saturday about an incident involving a quad bike.

A rapid response paramedic and an A&E crew were dispatched along with the air ambulance.

"On their arrival the crews found that a male patient, in his late 50s, had sustained fatal injuries in the incident," he said.

"He was pronounced dead at the scene. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased."

A family notice described him as the "beloved husband of Margaret and loving father of Hugh and Maria".

Funeral arrangements are to follow.

SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat had known Mr Henry for years.

"I don't know exactly how it happened yet. Hugh is a native of Ringsend and is very well known in the community and highly respected as a farmer," he said.

"The wider community will be in shock and my sympathy goes to him and his family.

"I would call for all the support they can get at this very difficult time.

"Farming by its very nature is a very dangerous occupation; really it's only at times like this that we realise that.

"It's a hard industry to be involved in and even with the best precautions there's always an element of risk.

"There has been a number of previous fatalities involving quads but now is not the time to speculate about what happened."

Ulster Unionist councillor William King works as a farmer and passed on his sympathy to the family.

"I heard the quad accident happened on his property. It shows again the danger of quad bikes," he said.

"My sympathy does go out to his family, it's yet another farm accident and it's something we're working hard to try and prevent.

"But there's a high risk in using quad bikes and I would urge anyone using them to take every precaution."

Mr Henry is now the second person to die on a farm in Northern Ireland this month.

Young father-of-three Toirdealbhach Larkin (22) was killed on May 4 while he was erecting an outbuilding at a farm in Katesbridge, Co Down.

The HSE's latest annual report said farming was still the most dangerous profession here, with six farm-related deaths in 2016/17 and the same number in 2015/16. A new safety campaign, 'Keeping Farming Families Safe,' has already been planned for the Balmoral Show, which starts on Wednesday.

Speaking ahead of the launch, HSE Chief Executive and Farm Safety Partnership Chairman Keith Morrison said: "There is nothing more important than keeping yourself and your family safe and unfortunately many tragic accidents could have been avoided by planning ahead and taking simple, inexpensive actions to manage the dangers."

Belfast Telegraph