IFA Chair calls for motorist consideration during busy Wicklow silage season

Wicklow IFA Chair Tom Byrne has asked all motorists to do their part to keep Wicklow's roads safe during silage season.

Eoin Mac RaghnaillWicklow People

With Wicklow’s busy silage-cutting season underway, county IFA Chairman Tom Byrne has urged farming machinery drivers and other road users in the Garden County to share the roads safely.

Appealing to Wicklow motorists, Mr Byrne, who has farmed 130 acres of land near Aughrim since the early 1970s, said: “This is very relevant in Wicklow, perhaps more relevant than anywhere in the country.

“We have a very urban population here, with many people who have moved down from the cities who make the commute back to Dublin for work – despite the fact that a lot of people are working from home.

“A lot of the people wouldn’t be familiar, or patient, with agricultural machinery, so safety in the county is terribly relevant in Wicklow. It affects a huge percentage of Wicklow farmers, but not so much in the uplands, where there are separate issues with people parking and farmers having difficulty accessing their properties.

“For the summer months, it’s going to be absolute bedlam out on the roads, with tractors and light machinery everywhere. I’ll have a whole heap of machinery on the road myself.

“I’d appeal to motorists to be as considerate as possible, both from a safety standpoint and an understanding that Wicklow is a farming county, and this is our busy season on the roads.

“Now, in saying that, I would ask the very same of tractor drivers and all farmers. Farmers are just like any motorists. You have those people who are very vigilant in keeping an eye out behind them and a tiny, tiny minority that drive in the middle of the road and don’t give a damn.

“We have no divine right to hold up a huge line of traffic behind us, so I’d also appeal to those users of heavy machinery on the road to be aware of what’s behind them, and to let traffic by when it’s appropriate and safe.

“We all use the Wicklow roads and we all need to do our part to make them safe.”

Echoing Mr Byrne’s sentiments, IFA Farm Family and Social Affairs Chair, Alice Doyle said: “We are renewing our annual appeal for motorists to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards.

“IFA is also asking anyone driving farm machinery, especially on rural roads, to cut back on their speed, not to get distracted and understand that around every corner could be a neighbouring family or friend out for a walk or a cycle.

“This is a very busy time of year for farmers. The number of tractors and trailers out using the roads will increase dramatically. I am asking all drivers to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other farm machinery on the road. If you are travelling behind farm machinery, please be patient and only overtake when it’s safe to do so.

“Farmers should be aware of traffic building up behind them. It’s important to keep left where possible and safe to do so, to allow other vehicles to pass safely. It’s also important that drivers recognise this, pay extra attention to the road and always be on the lookout for other road users.”