Friday 15 November 2019

'I know what it's like to lose a father through an accident' - Simon Coveney at farm safety event

Paul Healy

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said he “knows what its like to lose a father through an accident” as he addressed a farm safety event.

Mr Coveney’s father and former Minister of State Hugh Coveney, died in a fall from a seaside cliff while out walking in 1998.

“Its awful in terms of that the family has to go through after that in regards to picking up the pieces , finding a way forward, trying to run a business in the absence of a business person,” Mr Coveney said.

He was speaking at the launch of ‘Farm Safety Fortnight’, a Health and Safety Authority’s (HSA) farm safety initiative which will take place on 500 farms this month.

Minister Coveney said that the department was “putting its money where its mouth is” with its own €13m Farm Safety Scheme.

He also said that it was actively exploring a second scheme to be launched in the summer to the tune of “about €10m to €15m.”

More than one hundred people, including farmers, their families and a variety of farming organisations took part in a safety walk at the farm of Andrew Purcell and Alf McGlew, at Grangebellew, Co Louth.

Hosted by Teagasc, the aim of the walk was to highlight the safety measures that need to be taken in order to prevent farm accidents.

Farmers that attended the walk yesterday were given the opportunity to talk to experts in tractor safety, experts in style handling and livestock handling.

Last year was one of the worst years on record with 30 people killed on Irish farms, accounting for 60pc of work related fatalities. This year there have already been three deaths.

Pat Griffin of the HSA said farmers needed to be informed of the “basic issues” which need to be addressed in order to prevent further tragedies.

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