24 November 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
Meeting in Fitzgerald Vienna Woods Hotel on Sunday to kick-start initiative
‘Embrace FARM’, the voluntary bereavement group established to support families in the aftermath of fatal and non-fatal accidents, is to establish a network in Cork.
The move follows one of the worst years on record for farm accidents, with 30 people killed on Irish farms in 2014 – almost triple the death toll of five years previous. Cork was the worst hit county last year with six of the 30 fatal accidents taking place in the county.
The organisation, founded by Co. Laois farmer Brian Rohan after his father Liam died following a farm accident in 2012, has been providing bereavement support for farm families, mostly in the Midlands, who have lost a loved one or suffered serious injury in a farming accident.
However, having established a new group for the West of Ireland in recent weeks, Embrace FARM will have a meeting in the Fitzgeralds Vienna Woods Hotel on Sunday next, November 29th at 8p.m. The Cork based network will also support families in Kerry, West Limerick and South Tipp.
Embrace FARM’s Cork representative will be Majella Philpott, a teacher in Mallow whose father Dan sadly died in an accident on the farm in Banteer, North Cork three years ago.
Said Majella, “Farm accidents, whether fatal or non-fatal, leave families with an awful lot to deal with. In an instant you are plunged into a crisis and the fall-out from this goes on and on.
“I personally got incredible support and solace from the Embrace FARM network as I was able to talk through with others who had been down this road also the trauma, experience and fall-out from what happened to my father.
“It was my ambition from very early on to establish a similar network in Cork as there have been so many accidents in our county and neighbouring counties that I have no doubt there are many people who will benefit from the support provided by these networks.
“It all takes place in a very relaxed and informal setting; effectively over a cup of team. You are very much with your own at these gatherings and you walk away from them in a much better place.”
Speakers at Monday night’s meeting will include Brian Rohan, founder of Embrace FARM, Peter Gohery, who lost a leg in an accident in Co. Galway, and two trained counsellors.
Looking ahead to the meeting Brian Rohan said, “Cork and the South West in general has, unfortunately, far too much experience of serious farm accidents. It’s one of the most, if not the most, intensive farm areas in the country, with high levels of machinery activity and huge stocking rates and the statistics on accidents reflect this. We are looking forward to establish a network here and providing the type of support that others in the Midlands and now in the West are benefiting from.”
The primary objective of Embrace Farm is providing support to bereaved families through bereavement support sessions and an annual remembrance service. To that end, it has successfully lobbied Minister for Agriculture for Agriculture Simon Coveney for the establishment of a liaison officer in the Department to provide a support service to the families – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or lo-call 0761 064445 – of farmers who have suffered sudden tragedies and face subsequent challenges in their dealings with issues surrounding ownership, entitlements, scheme applications, succession and inheritance etc.
The organisation last year, in response to the dramatic increase in farm accidents and fatalities, embarked on a farm safety awareness programme that has commenced with the launch of a video campaign ‘What’s Left Behind’, kindly supported by ABP Food Group, in which it tells, through personal testimony, the harrowing legacy of farm accidents.
For further information, contact the Embrace FARM telephone line 085-7709966 or Group Leader for the West of Ireland network Peter Gohery, tel +353 87 4183620.
File photo of Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture
Deputy Coveney is from Cork, and has previously spoken
about the importance of farm safety.