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Lowry Highlights Need For Funding For Farm Safety Schemes

Tipperary Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry pictured here with Mrs Imelda Walsh (Chairperson North Tipperary IFA) and Mr Michael Kennedy (Vice Chairperson North Tipperary IFA)

There are many issues facing farmers at this time. The need to minimise the impact of CAP Reform; the fight to get fair pricing for farm produce; calls to stop the exporting of live animals and farmers being asked to set aside land for forestry; just a few of the problems that farmers have raised consistently throughout this Election Campaign.

Deputy Lowry has consistently worked for a better deal for farmers and promoted a greater understanding of the challenges being faced by rural Ireland.

The vital issue of ‘Farm Safety’ is one that has not received sufficient attention in the media throughout the Campaign, but is one that Deputy Lowry is determined to make a priority if re-elected. He is fully supportive of the IFA’s call to have a Farm Safety Scheme introduced, under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) with increased funding for health and safety equipment.

Farm safety should be a priority on every farm, just as it is in every other business. A typical family farming situation now involves part-time farming with the day-time herding attended to by a senior farmer, left to handle large suckler-bred cattle. There have been over 207 deaths in Agriculture and Forestry over the last 10 years, (2009-2018) and in just 2019 alone a further 18 persons can be added to this earlier total.

One of the greatest risks to farmers is the often very solitary nature of their work. Regardless of age, farmers for the most part work alone and are often isolated from other people. There are multiple dangers ranging from using unprotected Power Take-Off (PTO) shafts; slurry agitation in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas; livestock handling; loose clothing becoming caught in farm machines, and attempts made to correct problems with farm machinery and equipment without the proper tools and training to avoid delaying necessary work.

Some of the farm safety measures proposed under the Farm Safety Scheme are installing yard lighting, cattle and sheep handling facilities (mobile and fixed), replacing hinged (swinging) doors with sliding or roller doors, retro-fitting of safety rails on silo walls and re-wiring existing farm buildings.

Deputy Lowry says that while the major issues raised during the Election Campaign are of huge importance to the future of farming in Tipperary and throughout Ireland, action must be taken to ensure that famers are safe in their place of work. “A properly funded Farm Safety Scheme is a matter of urgency”, says Deputy Lowry.

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