June 13, 2020
Patricia Ryan TD calls for stepping up of farm safety Inspections

Sinn Féin TD for Kildare South and the Portarlington area of Laois, Patricia Ryan, has called for the urgent stepping up of farm safety inspections. Following her parliamentary question submitted last week, it was discovered that between March 1st and June 8th, just 8% of the amount of farm inspections took place, compared with the same period last year.  

Deputy Ryan said: “It is crucial that we ramp up farm safety inspections as soon as possible. This is a time when more children are around farms, due to them being off school because of the pandemic. Farmers may also be hurrying more as they juggle childcare with their partner. These inspections should be more about supporting farmers in keeping the farm safe, rather than catching them out. 12 times fewer inspections took place this year and this needs to improve immediately. To date 12 people have died in farm accidents in Ireland in 2020; 19 died in 2019. There have been 27 workplace deaths so far in 2020. The fatality rate in agriculture is much higher than any other sector. A large proportion of all fatal workplace accidents occur on farms, even though a small proportion of the workforce is employed in agriculture. I would urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the work of Embrace Farm.”

Embrace Farm, a charity which supports farm accident victims and their families, is holding its farm safety campaign over the coming days.  On social media, people are being asked to post their memories and stories using the hashtag #WeRememberYou. It will conclude with a memorial service on 28 June, when the names of those who have died will be read out. It is an annual service, the only one marking farm deaths. If anyone has been bereaved by a farming accident, they can call the Embrace Farm support line on 085 77 09 966. The service will be aired on RTÉ on 5 July.

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