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IFA President Tim Cullinan said farmers must put safety first on their farms because not doing so puts them, their children and their neighbours at risk.

“As farmers we have to take the lead role in addressing this issue and that starts at home on our own farms. There have been eight confirmed deaths on Irish farms this year. This is not just a statistic, behind the numbers are heartbroken families,” he said.

“The message from IFA on farm safety is clear: farmers have to put safety first on their farms. The reality of the figures of injury and death on farms is devastating for the families involved. Farmers need to be serious about recognising the dangers of their workplace. They need to minimise all risks while taking on every job, both for themselves and others,” he said.

“Covid-19 has resulted in more children and young adults being at home on farms. This increases the risk of injury and death. We are also in silage season, with contractors and machinery operators working flat out trying to get through the workload,” said the IFA President.

It is the middle of the breeding season with cows, young calves, and stock bulls which can be especially dangerous at this time of year and as the summer progresses. Caution is also needed for those who operate quad bikes on farms. While they are a very useful tool for any farm, they are also high risk particularly if driven too quickly or with passengers.

He said, “Farmers must slow down; plan the job out; use proper equipment; and keep others back. There is nothing more precious than life – the work will always get done”.

“Finally, IFA offers our sincere sympathy to all the families that have lost loved ones on Irish farms over the years.”

IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell said COVID-19 is affecting mental health in different ways, with many people feeling lonely, stressed and anxious.

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With children off school for three weeks now due to Covid-19 and the Easter Bank Holiday this weekend, IFA President Tim Cullinan has appealed to farmers and everybody in the farming community to step up their farm safety plan.

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IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair, Caroline Farrell said that the spread of the coronavirus and restrictions it has imposed and, potentially will impose, is a worry for many farm families.

“It is understandable to feel vulnerable or overwhelmed reading or hearing the news, we are in unchartered waters,” said Mrs. Farrell.

She recommended that if people feel overwhelmed, they should limit their time on social media or listening to the news, and instead go for a walk or just step outside their back door and take a breath.

“Even though it might be difficult right now it is important to look after your mental health. Talking through your worries with someone can help lessen the worry or anxiety,” she said.

“We are all in this together so make the most of your local IFA network to stay in touch and support other farm families in your community.”

She stressed the importance of keeping a realistic perspective of the situation, which is based on the facts.

“Only use trustworthy and reliable sources of news to get updates on the coronavirus, there is a lot of misinformation out there that is adding to people’s anxiety,” she said.

If you need to talk to someone right now, you can free call the Samaritans on 116 123. For more information on looking after your mental health go to www.yourmentalhealth.ie or check out the mental health section on the IFA website.

 

 

IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs Chair Caroline Farrell has welcomed changes that mean farmers and other self-employed, if diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having COVID-19, will be entitled to income support.

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