'No witnesses to accident means it will never be fully known why farmer was outside his tractor'

Farm accident level that should cause everybody significant concern - Coroner

Stock Picture
Stock Picture

Eoghan MacConnell

A Coroner has expressed alarm at the growing number of farm accidents which he described as a 'major concern'. 

Offaly Coroner Brian Mahon made the comments at the inquest of Rody Carroll, an elderly farmer and father-of-five who died in an accident involving a tractor at his farm in Dowras, Fiveally, near Birr last March.

“We have had a number of farm accidents before the Coroners Court, particularly in the last year,” Mr Mahon told the Coroners Court in Tullamore on Monday(today). 

“I think this is the third farm accident I have heard this year,” he remarked. 

Mr Mahon said “farm accidents are now an issue of major concern” and the increase “should be a message to the farming community that the situation is now at a level which should cause everybody significant concern.” 

He called for a “concentrated and determined effort” by farming organisations, farming communities and farmers themselves in order to try to highlight the issue and prevent farm accidents.

Experienced 70-year-old farmer Rody Carroll of Derrinlough Fivealley was found dead at the rear of a tractor on his farm in Dowras, Fivealley by his brother Michael on the morning of March 16, 2017. 

Mr Carroll’s son Patrick recalled being informed of the accident by his uncle and driving down to the yard. There he found his father at the rear of the New Holland tractor. He said the front end loader was wedged between a pillar and a tree.  

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

Birr based Garda Ann McDonald attended the scene at around 9.15am and observed a man lying behind the tractor. She said an ambulance crew attended but there was no sign of life. 

Health and Safety Authority(HSA) Inspector Manus Tiernan said Mr Carroll was found behind the left rear wheel of the tractor. “There were no witnesses to the accident and it will never be fully known why he was outside the tractor,” explained Mr Tiernan. 

When quizzed on the matter by the Coroner, Mr Tiernan said the evidence would suggest Mr Carroll had exited the tractor while it was running in a very low gear and he possibly slipped or lost his balance before being run over. He noted a nearby gate was open when investigators arrived.

Pathologist Dr Nurul Nor concluded that Mr Carroll died from “extensive thoracic and abdominal trauma”  as a result of the farm accident. He noted that aside from the injuries, Mr Carroll was a healthy man.  

Describing it as a “tragic loss” for the family, Mr Mahon expressed his sympathy and condolences, as did the foreman of the jury and gardai. In accordance with the evidence, the jury recorded the cause of death as extensive thoracic and abdominal trauma secondary to a farm accident. 

Online Editors

For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App