Victims of farm accidents are remembered at special service

Pictured, left to right, are James Healy, President of Macra na Feirme, Mairead McGuinness , MEP, Barclay Bell, President of Ulster Farmers Union with James Speers, President of Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster and Keith Morrison, CEO of HSE NI
Pictured, left to right, are James Healy, President of Macra na Feirme, Mairead McGuinness , MEP, Barclay Bell, President of Ulster Farmers Union with James Speers, President of Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster and Keith Morrison, CEO of HSE NI

Loved ones who have been injured or lost their lives in farm accidents were remembered at the annual Ecumenical Remembrance Service in the Church of the Most Holy Rosary on Sunday in Abbeyleix, Co. Laois.

This annual event, which has taken place since 2014, was well attended.

The service was led by Church of Ireland Bishop Michael Burrows. Local clergy were in attendance from the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.

The service was also attended by Minister Michael Creed, Minster Oliver Flanagan and numerous Agri VIP’s including the Presidents of the ICA, (Mary O’Toole), ICMSA, (John Comer), Macra na Feirme, (James Healy), Ulster Farmers’ Union (Barclay Bell), and James Speers from the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster (YFCU).

A number of families told organisers Brian and Norma Rohan, who founded Embrace Farm, how they went to the scene of where the accident had occurred, where their loved one was killed, and brought a handful of earth from there to be included in the service.

Everyone’s earth was carried outside by the ICMSA President John Comer and Macra President James Healy to where a tree was planted as a symbol of uniting the loss of their loved ones in one place.

A spokesperson said: “The tree will stand as a reminder that we are on a journey together and that sharing our experiences through the support of Embrace FARM will help us to cope with the burden of loss that is so much as part of all our lives.

“The mix of people who are affected by farm accidents was shown in who brought up the symbols. The Lyons family, Co Offaly, who lost their five year old boy brought a family photo showing that farms in Ireland are a family affair.

“Patsy O’Connor from Co Roscommon who lost his wife Lucy brought his hat, a familiar sight on farmers and Carol Devereux from Co Wexford who lost her dad Paddy brought a basket of food which farmers work hard to produce.”

Farm accident survivors Aengus Mannion who has gone through over 30 operations to be able to walk again and David Brickley who fell through a slatted shed also brought symbols to the altar in representation of the animals and machinery that are a part of every farmer’s life daily.

“Grief never ends….. But it changes, it’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…. It is the price of love.”

For more information on Embrace, please contact Brian or Norma Rohan Tel: +353 (0)87.234 377509966/ 086-8381427 or email: embrace.farm@gmail.com or on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/embracefarmaccidents