Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has attended a special remembrance event in Co Laois to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in farming accidents across the island of Ireland.
She joined her counterpart in the south, Minister Simon Coveney, at the Embrace Farm Remembrance event in Abbeyleix.
The Minister said: “The loss of a loved one is heartbreaking for any family. However, when the person you have lost has been killed on, or close to, your family home and business, that pain can become unbearable. Today’s service is hugely important because it offers us all a chance to remember and to pay tribute. The service brought home to me the sadness and difficulties that surrounds the loss of a life in our farming industry.”
Ministers O’Neill and Coveney presented a wreath to the Philpott family. The family will take the wreath home and place it on their family grave as a mark of respect and remembrance for those lost to farming accidents.
Speaking to families in Abbeyleix following the Remembrance Service, she said: “It is clear that statistics show that farming is a dangerous industry. The statistics are very concerning but they do not reflect the devastating impact on those left behind.
“Today is about remembering friends and loved ones who have passed and more importantly those left behind.
“There are many things that friends and family have to deal with. Making arrangements for the farm, managing the bills, and for those who survive an accident there is the recovery and adjustments that come with healing. Dealing with these things is the hidden but very real impact of a farm accident.”
She said: “We all know farms are dangerous places where accidents still do occur. And that is why we must work relentlessly to educate people of the dangers and how to keep safe.”
Embrace Farm was set up by Brian and Norma Rohan following the death of Brian’s father in a farm accident to support families in the aftermath of an accident.