Farmers urged to take care when working with animals
THE widow of a Sinn Fein councillor who was killed by a bull is appealing for farmers to be careful when working with animals.
The call from Patricia McAnespie has coincided with an international conference on farm fatalities and injuries which is taking place in Dublin. Every year 450 people across Europe die in farm accidents.
Michael McAnespie, who was a former mayor of Omagh, died when he was attacked on his farm near Sixmilecross four years ago.
Mrs McAnespie said nothing could fill the space left by her loss.
“It never gets any better,” she continued. “He was attacked when he was in the field.”
Mrs McAnespie said her husband had been working with cattle all his life.
“He was used to cattle, and I just don’t know what happened.
“He’d been in the field all week with that bull, putting in hedges.
“Health and Safety said the bull was mad and had to be shot, but it was a very quiet bull he’d worked with all week.”
She described how her life had changed since the tragic accident.
“I had to move house, and weekends are the worst, because it’s very lonely, you couldn’t describe the loneliness,” she added.
“We were married nearly 42 years.
“I would appeal to all farmers to take extra care, because it’s an awful loss, I just couldn’t put it into words.”
Speaking at the Irish meeting on Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety in Dublin, IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey stressed the importance of being ever vigilant, when it comes to safety on our farms.
He said that by simply taking a few minutes to think about the risks involved before starting a task, you can take preventative measures to lessen the likelihood of an accident.
He said: “Farms can be a dangerous place with livestock and powerful machinery, slurry pits and other hazards capable at any time of posing risks, especially to children. This is why it is so important that everyone takes responsibility and puts in place measures to reduce the risks on our farms.”
He said the best way to bring about a real change and reduce the accidents on Irish farms is through promotion and awareness of farm safety. The IFA farm safety campaign, Think Safety Farm Safely, which was launched earlier this year by President Mary McAleese, encourages farmers to maintain the highest safety standards on their farms.
Mr Downey welcomed the opportunity provided by the meeting to hear from expert speakers on the latest international developments in agricultural health and safety management. He said the meeting provides an ideal platform to share experiences and establish links to work together to reduce accidents on farms.
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