Fianna Fáil Seanad spokesperson on Agriculture, Senator Paul Daly, has dismissed comments from Minister Pat Breen who cited costs as the reason for not establishing a Farm Safety Agency.

Senator Daly commented, “I was delighted to see the Bill pass second stage. Over the years 2012 to 2017 there were 2,816 accidents on Irish farms reported. That is 11% across all farms. Despite this, the government seem uninterested in protecting our farming community.

“We must protect our farming community. This is the purpose of the Farm Safety Agency Bill. I am open to a wider debate on this Bill but ultimately an agency is needed. For instance, since the formation of the Road Safety Authority fatal road accidents have reduced significantly.

“If a farmer is involved in a fatal incident it affects the running of the business and, in turn, puts extra strain on those left behind. Given the nature of rural Ireland and the farm family set-up in rural Ireland, a farm fatality affects an entire community. It can bring down a parish or locality. 

“The Minister is not prioritising farm safety and the lives of farmers due to cost. It is a reckless attitude and in keeping with the out of touch approach Fine Gael have to the Agri-sector,” concluded Senator Daly.